At 650 actions across the country — plus online with 185,000 participants on the Movement for Black Lives TV — people gathered to celebrate, mourn, and rally for Black lives. Juneteenth weekend was a beautiful and powerful continuation of weeks of national uprisings.
These protests are bending the arc toward justice — it’s on all of us to keep showing up for Black lives in all the ways we can until justice is won. Below are some highlights from the Juneteenth weekend, as well as opportunities to take action.
Photo credit: Jeff Siegel
BEND THE ARC LEADERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
- In Austin, Jeremiah Fellows organized a powerful virtual Juneteenth seder in collaboration with local Black organizers, Never Again Action Central Texas, Mutual Aid ATX, UT Young Democratic Socialists of America, and UT Austin Dissenters.
- In Pittsburgh, Bend the Arc leaders convened with their neighbors to celebrate the life of Antwon Rose, who was murdered by police on June 19, 2018. They also met with Mayor Bill Peduto to continue advocating for the rights of protesters and a reallocation of police funds to invest in Black neighborhoods, in partnership with 1Hood Media and Alliance for Police Accountability.
- In Louisville, leaders continued to organize Jews in solidarity with demands from Black Lives Matter Louisville, including justice for Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, and public accountability from Mayor Greg Fischer and the City Council.
- In Southeastern Pennsylvania, one of our newest moral minyans supported local Black leadership in Montgomery County by demanding the resignation of Commissioner Joe Gale for racist comments against Black Lives Matter.
- In Albuquerque, Bend the Arc leaders organized Jews across New Mexico to join a phone zap to divest New Mexico educators' retirement funds from private prison corporations, sign a petition to free an arrested organizer, and call the Albuquerque mayor with budget demands.
- On Long Island, Bend the Arc members joined a march led by Black high school students filled with dancing, chanting, and singing through the largely conservative town of Massapequa. They were greeted by horn honking and thumbs up from onlookers.
- In Portland, Oregon, Jeremiah fellows hosted a special Shabbat event for protesters joining Juneteenth events, baking individually-wrapped challot to pass out throughout the march.
HEARD DURING JUNETEENTH
“For Black people, Juneteenth is a sacred day. We hope to add to the sanctity of that day by making it clear that Black people will lead in forging a new world, this next world where Black people will not only survive, but thrive in our fullest dignity and humanity.”
— Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Highlander Center and M4BL
“What is broken must be rebuilt, not reformed. We have an opportunity to cut spending for police forces that make up colossal portions of city budgets and reinvest those funds in a safety infrastructure collaboratively created with us. We demand an investment in our wellness — state-of the-art healthcare, educational opportunities, great jobs that support families, and good, affordable housing. We demand a new way of righting wrongs that is deeply grounded in our humanity.”
—Thenjiwe McHarris, “Cost Of Inaction: Why We Mourn. Why We March. Why We Fight.”
“We changed slavery in the midst of it. We changed Jim Crow in the midst of it. We changed refusing women the right to vote in the midst of it. We changed labor laws when men and women were dying from being overworked and destroyed because of people’s greed. You change things when what is happening is no longer working. It is dying and the death has become too much and the pain has become too much. Now is the moment. Right now.”
– Rev. William J. Barber II, Poor People’s Campaign
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HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
While SixNineteen might be over, the organizing continues. Bend the Arc: Jewish Action will continue to act with and follow the leadership of the Movement for Black Lives — and other Black-led partners nationally and locally, including organizations led by and for Black Jews.
✊ Commit to action: Add your name to the Not Free to Desist open letter from Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Color, and allies calling for commitments on racial equity from Jewish community organizations.
❤️ Give: If you are in a position to give at this time, please consider making a donation to bail funds.
📣 Get organized: Join a Bend the Arc group in your city, and if there isn’t one already, our team will walk you through starting your own.
✏️ Add your name: Help the petition for #JusticeForBre reach 15 million signatures by Thursday.
The Bend the Arc team