Tag Archives: Civil Rights

President Makes Positive Steps Forward in Demilitarizing Police

The topics of criminal justice reform and community-police relations have been at the top of the news cycle for months. In fact, just yesterday the President traveled to Camden, New Jersey and visited with local law enforcement and met with young people in the Camden community to hear directly about the progress the revamped police force has made in building trust between law enforcement and the people of Camden. Through trips such as this one, and his establishment of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to improve communities and police departments across the country and respond to the series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Read more…

RAC staff and supporters marching in Baltimore

Another Way to Welcome Shabbat

On Friday May 1, a number of us boarded the MARC train to Baltimore on our way to a march and rally organized by Jews United for Justice. We were once again disappointed and outraged by the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police. Though we were standing up for justice for Freddie Gray, we knew that we were also asking for justice in our broader criminal justice system. Read more…

Rabbi Jen Gubitz

Living in the Hyphen – Confronting Internalized Racism

by Rabbi Jen Gubitz

A version of these remarks was delivered by Rabbi Jen Gubitz on May 1, 2015 at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA. 

It was an image out of a utopian movie. Children seated in organized rows. Some dressed in traditional African garments. A vast array of what you could see: skin tones, hair color, height – and, of course, a vast array of what you could not see: religion, ability, disability, personality, and socio economics.  Children all singing together: “Jambo, Jambo, Jambo, sana, jambo. Jambo, jambo, jambo watato, jambo.” This was a 1974 song by Ella Jenkins using basic Swahili that meant: “Hello, hello, hello, everybody, hello” sung as part of the yearly celebration focused each year on a different part of the world – this time Africa.

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RAC staff and supporters marching in Baltimore

Healing and Progress in Baltimore

A tragedy in the city of Baltimore and the protests and riots that followed have once again refocused national attention on race, class, and unequal treatment under the law. Even as Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced last Friday that charges would be brought against the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, RAC staff were en route to nearby Baltimore to stand with our partners in a peaceful protest calling for accountability and reform in law enforcement.

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Building an Inclusive Movement to Advance a Sustainable Planet

We are all impacted by climate change and environmental injustice. Over half of us live in counties in violation of air pollution standards, storms like Katrina, Irene, and Sandy don’t discriminate in the devastation they unleash, and communities across the coastlines of this country are facing imminent displacement due to sea level rise, which is overtaking land and resulting in increased risk of storm surge.

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Rabbi Rebekah Stern

From Heartbreak to Action: Racial Inequality in California

by Rabbi Rebekah Stern

I lay in bed one night late last summer, scrolling, as I often do, through my Facebook newsfeed on my phone. As a congregational rabbi and a mother of two young children—a now almost five-year old girl and two-year old boy—these last moments before I fall asleep are the only ones I seem to have to catch up on the lives of my more distant friends.

These were the first painful weeks after Michael Brown’s death. The weeks when we were reminded that there is sometimes a shocking discrepancy between the way that my white family experiences interaction with law enforcement and the way that black families often do.

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Ferguson clergy protest

At the Consultation: Black-Jewish Relations Past, Present and Future

At the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience April 26-28, 2015, we are thrilled to have Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri and Aaron Jenkins of Operation Understanding DC lead a workshop on how congregations can engage in the important civil rights work of our time. Rabbi Talve will speak about her activism in the St. Louis and Ferguson area in the time since Michael Brown’s death, and the role of congregations and faith leaders in leading this work. Mr. Jenkins will talk about his work as Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC and the importance of dialogue, especially between the black and Jewish communities. Read more…

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