FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2020
CONTACT: Logan Smith, [email protected], 202-709-8825
Statement in Solidarity With Black Lives
We call for our Jewish community, especially white Jews, to rise up for Black lives and demand police accountability
Bend the Arc rises in solidarity with the powerful uprising all across this country demanding dignity for Black lives and justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, James Scurlock, and David McAtee. We acknowledge the countless other Black lives taken at the hands of police officers whose names we do not yet know. In this moment, we are being called as a country to dismantle the centuries-old structures of white supremacy that take the lives of too many Black men, women, and trans people — and to build a more just America in its place. Our Jewish community is committed to Black lives and Black liberation, including Black Jews.
On Thursday night, we entered the holiday of Shavuot and commemorated the moment we received the Torah — all of our founding stories and traditions and obligations to one another — and became the Jewish people.
In this moment, right now, what Torah are we receiving about who we are as a country? What kind of people are we right now, and who might we become?
The hour is dire. In the middle of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black lives and livelihoods we are seeing a rapid descent into authoritarianism and state violence, mirroring violence that Black liberation movements have faced throughout our country's history. After ignoring armed far-right militia groups at Reopen protests, police forces in city after city are erupting in violence against Black protesters, elected officials, and journalists alike. Cities and states are activating national guard and military units, states of emergencies, and the all too real prospect of martial law. We’re seeing a terrifying pattern of vehicular assaults on protesters, by possible vigilantes as well as law enforcement. We’re seeing white nationalists seek to take advantage of the situation to fuel a race war. The president repeatedly calls for violence against Black people and protesters, while spreading disinformation and pointing fingers. Their masks are off.
In this hour we can also glimpse the promise of a liberated future, being called into being by Black organizers and activists. Thousands of Americans, young and old, of all races and ethnicities, are in the streets, providing mutual aid, donating to bail funds, and calling for justice. A more just America is struggling to be born. Our choice is clear.
We call for our Jewish community, especially white Jews, to rise up for Black lives using all of our spiritual, political and intellectual resources. We demand accountability for the officers and white supremacists involved in these murders. We demand that police and military forces de-escalate and immediately cease all violence against protesters and Black communities. We demand that cities and state governments launch independent investigations into the deaths or injury of any individuals in the midst of protests and rioting.
It’s past time to build a new America where it is safe to sleep, walk, drive, shop, jog, live, and love while Black. It’s past time to build an America where Black people, any people, are no longer killed by the police. It’s past time to see that these demands for the safety and dignity of Black lives are the floor, not the ceiling, for a society in which we are all truly free to live and love. We rise as one so we can thrive as many.