After centuries of white supremacist policy and state-sanctioned police violence, the organization Black Lives Matter was formed to challenge the systemic racism and murder of Black people in this country. Mr. Gale describes this organization as one of the “radical left-wing hate groups” and says “(t)heir objective is to unleash chaos and mayhem without consequence by falsely claiming they, in fact, are the victims.” (emphasis added)
Jewish tradition teaches us: hocheach tocheach– that we must “surely rebuke” when we see wrongdoing and seek to make change. Jewish tradition mandates action. The Black Lives Matter movement, along with others protesting systemic racism, are doing the sacred work of rebuking our society. Mr. Gale’s statements prove that he is either ignorant of, in denial of, or lying about the reality of systemic racism and police brutality for 401 years in the United States.
As Jewish community members of Montgomery County, we stand in solidarity with Black leaders and support actions in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to hold Commissioner Gale accountable for his hateful speech. We support PA State Senate Resolution 334 — The People’s Resolution to remove Joe Gale from Office, and the upcoming House resolution calling for Gale’s impeachment. As far as we are concerned, the only appropriate course of action is for Mr. Gale to resign in disgrace. Since he is unwilling to do so, the General Assembly must take action.
Mr. Gale describes historical truth as“the bogus narrative of systemic police brutality and white racism.” There is nothing "bogus" about systemic racism in the United States.
Our message as a Jewish community to Mr. Gale is this:
Mr. Gale, because you are white, you can go jogging without fear that you will be hunted down and murdered, unlike Amaud Arbery.
Because you are white, you can relax in your own home without fear of being murdered by the police, unlike Bothem Jean and Atatiana Jefferson.
Because you are white, if you are in a car accident, you can request help without fear of being murdered, unlike Jonathan Ferrell and Renisha McBride.
Because you are white, you can have a cellphone without fear of being murdered, unlike Stephon Clark.
Because you are white, you can walk from the corner store without fear of being murdered by an agent of the state, unlike Michael Brown.
Because you are white, your children can play cops and robbers without fear of being murdered by an agent of the state, unlike Tamir Rice.
Because you are white, you can lawfully carry a weapon without fear of being murdered by an agent of the state, unlike Philando Castile.
Because you are white, you can be arrested without fear of having the breath choked out of you, unlike Eric Garner and George Floyd.
These are only some examples of how your whiteness protects you from the daily risk of living as a Black people in our country.
Mr. Gale, you were elected to represent all residents of Montgomery County, not just white nationalists.
Your absolute denial of historical facts and current circumstances proves you are unfit to serve. We are answering the call of Black leadership across Montgomery County by speaking up today. It’s time to stop embarrassing us.
We urge every state representative and state senator in Montgomery County to support the investigation and removal of Commissioner Gale.