Bend the Arc Names Amy Spitalnick as CEO, Centers Commitment to Fighting White Supremacy

Bend the Arc Names Amy Spitalnick as CEO, Centers Commitment to Fighting White Supremacy

August 09, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Contact:  Amy Lebowitz
[email protected] 

Bend the Arc Names Amy Spitalnick as CEO, Centers Commitment to Fighting White Supremacy

Spitalnick — who held Charlottesville Nazis to account in landmark lawsuit — shaped public understanding of how both antisemitism and racism underpin white supremacy

WASHINGTON — Bend the Arc: Jewish Action announced Tuesday that Amy Spitalnick will join the organization as Chief Executive Officer. Spitalnick, a champion in the fight against white nationalism with deep roots in the Jewish community, is an expert in building big, diverse, winning coalitions that cut across lines of religion, race, geography and issues. Her leadership signals the beginning of Bend the Arc’s new chapter grounded in an unequivocal commitment to fighting the white supremacy threatening our collective safety and democracy.

Ginna Green, co-chair of Bend the Arc’s board, said: “At this moment in time, Bend the Arc is thrilled to have such a credible and compelling voice to illustrate our vision for the Jewish community and the nation; a multidimensional talent who understands the policy, organizing, and political realms in which Bend the Arc works; and a networked movement leader who can speak to organizers on the ground and donors in boardrooms. Amy is that person.”

A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Amy has spent her career in pursuit of a more just and equitable society. For the last four years, she has served as Executive Director of Integrity First for America, holding accountable the neo-Nazis who stormed Charlottesville through a historic, successful lawsuit — and becoming a national leader in the fight against white nationalism and extremism. Through her work, Amy has helped shape public understanding of how antisemitism, anti-Black racism, and bigotry of all forms are connected components of white supremacists’ machinery.

“Bend the Arc’s work couldn’t be more urgent. As white nationalism and authoritarianism are increasingly normalized in American politics, our freedoms — and our vision of a multiracial democracy where we can all thrive — are profoundly at risk,” Amy Spitalnick said. “Bend the Arc is uniquely and unequivocally mobilizing the Jewish community to show up fully for the fights we have ahead: against white supremacy, antisemitism, and racism — and for Black liberation and the inclusive multiracial democracy we need.”

Events like the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” violence and the antisemitic shooting at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh moved Jews to action in the face of resurgent antisemitism, white nationalism, and authoritarianism. Amy — who helped write a new playbook for holding white nationalists accountable, and successfully marshaled the resources of the Jewish community and beyond to do so — will usher Bend the Arc into its next strategic phase as the leading Jewish organization exclusively and unequivocally centered on the fight for Black liberation as the keystone to a free, safe, liberated future for all — including our multiracial Jewish family.

Bend the Arc’s new chapter

Bend the Arc names Amy as its new CEO in a moment when fierce organizing and all of the Jewish community’s resources — spiritual energy, practical participation, and financial resources — are needed to meet the challenges ahead.

Over the last decade, Bend the Arc has grown to become the leading Jewish voice in the multiracial progressive movement. The organization has transformed how Jewish and progressive communities think about antisemitism as part of the machinery of division and fear. In 2015, Bend the Arc rang the alarm about Trump's campaign using petitions, swing state actions, Vigils Against Violence, and other actions. In 2018, the organization mounted the largest Jewish civil disobedience in a generation in support of the Dream Act, in which 86 Rabbis and Jewish leaders were arrested in the U.S. Capitol, surrounded by hundreds of young Dreamers. And in 2020, Bend the Arc led the largest Jewish campaign to uphold the promise of democracy and kick white nationalism out of the White House.

"Bend the Arc Workers Union wishes a warm welcome and congratulations to Amy as she takes on a vital leadership role at Bend the Arc,” said members of the Bend the Arc Workers Union bargaining committee in a statement. “We look forward to working in deep relationship with Amy as we bargain for our first contract and continue building a just and equitable workplace.”

In addition to organizing American Jews at the grassroots level through nearly 30 chapters, Bend the Arc mobilizes Jews and allies for structural policy solutions to systemic injustice through public actions, sustained campaigns, phone banks, and petitions. The organization also houses leadership development programs to train young and established leaders to help shape the Jewish justice movement for years to come; the programs have trained more than 900 alumni across the spectrums of age, race, class, and affiliation. Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC, Bend the Arc’s federal political action committee, advocates exclusively for the progressive domestic policies that American Jewish communities have worked towards for generations. 

Under Amy’s leadership, Bend the Arc will continue to work in close partnership with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations, recognizing that freedom and safety for our multiethnic, multiracial Jewish family depends on freedom and safety for all people, across lines of race, religion, and other aspects of our identities. 

Proven track record of big wins

Amy is a champion in the fight against white nationalism with a proven track record of big wins for the progressive movement. She is a clear and unequivocal voice for freedom, safety, and democracy in the face of an extremist political movement rooted in systemic white supremacy and racism.

Currently the Executive Director of Integrity First for America (IFA), Amy led the organization to win its groundbreaking lawsuit against the leaders at the core of the white supremacist movement, on behalf of a multiracial coalition of Charlottesville community members. In so doing, she helped educate and engage Americans on white supremacy, racial injustice, and how our futures are interconnected across religion, race, and place. 

IFA’s work, under Amy’s leadership, is widely credited by experts on violent extremist movements as helping to shut down white supremacist organizations and create tangible, significant consequences for violent racists, to the tune of multi-million dollar damages. Its Charlottesville case has emerged as a model for accountability, including for the January 6 attack on U.S. democracy. Amy joins Bend the Arc on the heels of this legal victory and as IFA winds down its work after achieving its principal goals; she will begin full-time at Bend the Arc this fall.

Amy also serves as a Senior Advisor on extremism to Human Rights First, a limited role that will continue as she takes the helm at Bend the Arc and will help maintain and develop important cross-movement collaboration and relationships. Prior to IFA, Amy led communications and policy for the New York Attorney General’s office during crucial years of resistance to Trump’s dangerous policies. She has also held senior roles in the New York City Mayor’s Office and a number of other government offices, advocacy organizations, and campaigns — and brings unparalleled communications prowess, fundraising excellence, policy expertise, and a deep commitment to Bend the Arc’s values and vision.

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