Honoring the Life of Julian Bond
On Saturday night, legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond passed away at the age of 75. Mr. Bond spent his life fighting for social justice—he was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a longtime chairman of the NAACP. His loss is felt deeply by advocates, activists, national leaders and all those whose lives have been shaped – whether they know it or not – by his pursuit of justice.
Mr. Bond was also a longtime friend of the Reform Movement. In addition to speaking at URJ Biennial in 2013, he spoke on a movement-wide webinar this past March in honor of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL. Be sure to check out the webinar and hear Mr. Bond share his story here.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Julian Bond, who dedicated his life and career to fighting for civil rights and justice, not only for African-Americans but for all people. From his courage and leadership during the Civil Rights Movement to his service in the Georgia Legislature, his tireless efforts to achieve equality made him an inspiration to all who share his vision for a more just world.
Julian Bond embodied the very values that we as Reform Jews hold so deeply—the values that brought about the founding of the RAC more than 50 years ago. His life’s work reminds us that we are all created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. As we remember his life and achievements, and join, as a Movement, the NAACP’s current America’s Journey for Justice, we honor his memory by continuing to fight for racial justice and full equality for all people. May his memory be for a blessing.
Mr. Bond exemplified the values of justice and equal rights that we as Reform Jews seek to advance each day. As President Obama so eloquently stated, “Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.” His life, and now his memory, has and will continue to inspire generations of people committed to justice.
Zichrono livracha, may his memory be forever a blessing.
Image courtesy of Morry Gash/Associated Press.