Led by Jews of Color working with Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), over four hundred Jewish New Yorkers marched through the West Village to show their unwavering support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to demand that the NYC Council pass the Right To Know Act. Last year, over 50 rabbis signed a letter pushing for passage of the Act.
Seven Jews of Color were arrested as the march culminated with a sit-in outside the 9th precinct in the West Village. Among the arrested was April Baskin, Vice President at the Union for Reform Judaism.
Last night, in a hot jail cell, I reflected on how terrifying this would have been had I not had hundreds of members of my Jewish family in the streets, on the other side of a cinderblock wall, fighting and praying for my physical and spiritual liberation. […] I have never been more proud of Jews than I was last night — the clarity of our vision; our commitment to our own dignity as a people, whether Black, brown or white; the power of our empathy. This is how we move forward, together.” — Jew of Color Leo Ferguson, Community Organizer at JFREJ and one of seven activists arrested
As a Jew of color, a born and raised New Yorker, and a mother of a Jewish black daughter I know how important the Right To Know Act is. Black lives matter, my life matters, and my daughter’s life matters. Help pass the Right to Know Act to support this! — Rosa Jaffe, member of JFREJ’s Jews of Color caucus
That commitment to our movement — to Jews of Color, and Black people everywhere — is what I need from my entire Jewish community, not only when it is easy but when it is hard. — Jew of Color Leo Ferguson, Community Organizer at JFREJ
Black Lives Matter is a Jewish issue because there are Black Jews. The freedom and safety of Black people is tied to our Jewish values for justice and safety for everyone. Our country collectively has not been vocal enough. — April Baskin, Vice President at the Union for Reform Judaism
“We are here today because Black Lives Matter. Within our Jewish community and beyond, Black Lives Matter, and we will not sit silent — as Jews and as human beings, we cannot be complicit with police violence and systemic racism. We are calling for immediate action to end the unrestricted cash flow into failed policing strategies. […] As we enter the weeks leading to Tisha b’Av, this is a sacred time for Jews to take a stand against atrocities happening right now, as we also remember those that have happened to us in the past. We say no more!” — Shoshana Brown, a Jew of Color and a leader in JFREJ
“Millions of New Yorkers are frightened, distrustful, and disillusioned with the crisis of police brutality and the lack of accountability in instances of police violence. The Right to Know Act is simple, no-nonsense policy that will make all New Yorkers — and police officers — safer on the streets we all call home. Speaker Mark-Viverito is silencing the people’s will by refusing to allow the bill to come to a floor vote. The Right To Know Act is one effective step to make sure that all New Yorkers, especially those most targeted by police misconduct, can begin to rebuild trust in the police.” — Mark Tseng Putterman, member of JFREJ’s Jews of Color caucus
If you choose to observe Tisha b’Av, do so this year in honor of all Black people who have lost their lives to police violence. This Tisha B’av, we mourn not only the Jews killed and attacked around the globe for centuries, but the Black people killed or attacked right here, in our city, in our country each day. I am a Black Jew. I am a Jew for Black Lives. Black Lives Matter. — Shoshana Brown, a Jew of Color and a leader in JFREJ
I chose to put my body at risk and allow myself to be dragged off in handcuffs because I wanted to show my Jewish community something that we don’t always see plainly or understand: my reality as a Black, Jewish person is a different, more delicate and tenuous existence. […] As a Black person, I don’t have the luxury of walking away from this reality, or of abandoning my Black siblings when they need me to fight alongside them for justice and freedom from fear. — Jew of Color Leo Ferguson, Community Organizer at JFREJ