Tag Archives: Civil Rights
Rachel Laser speaking at National Sikh Campaign press conference

Rachel Laser: We Must Fight Discrimination Against Sikhs

On Monday, RAC Deputy Director Rachel Laser spoke at a press conference announcing the National Sikh Campaign’s (NSC) report on “What Americans Know and What Americans Need to Know.” NSC was created to fight the stereotypes and discrimination that Sikh Americans face in society today by “[highlighting] the Sikh community’s contributions to American society; [creating] an environment in which Sikhs don’t have to hide their articles of faith and who they are as people; [fostering] a Sikh community that is organized and can begin using existing infrastructure to better integrate into American society; and [laying] the foundation for more Sikhs to become leaders in the United States.” Read more…

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marches with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama

The Movie Selma: Where is Heschel?

By Al Vorspan

The movie Selma moved me very deeply, and I was impressed with the superb acting (especially MLK) and brilliant writing. But I was also troubled that this movie (so clearly on the side of the angels) unwittingly continues a trend I have watched for decades with mounting discomfort—the gradual bleaching out of the Jewish role in the civil rights revolution in America. To put it bluntly, as a friend, Larry Bush, put it to me: where was Heschel?

The murdered Christian clergyman was respectfully recalled. What appeared to be a Greek orthodox prelate, in garb, was glimpsed in the front row. But Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, certainly one of America’s most renowned and prophetic religious leaders, was not mentioned, nor viewed, though in real life Heschel was sitting in the front row with King’s carefully selected partners in the struggle for equal justice. Read more…

Group of NFTY Southern Teens volunteering

Inspired and Empowered: Jewish Social Justice, MLK Legacy and NFTY Southern

By Alexa Broida

I had the pleasure of spending MLK weekend with NFTY Southern in Memphis at their “Kallah Clave” social justice weekend. Back in the fall, the NFTY Southern Regional Advisor, Becci Jacobs, reached out to Mitzvah Corps as a partner in the visioning of the event and we began brainstorming together. Being able to have been not only a guest, but a part of planning the event, gave me additional insight into the depth of dedication of the planning process. Over the last few days, as I’ve begun to really process the significance of the event and to find the words to even begin to do justice to the incredibly powerful experience that the team there put together, I’ve continued to feel inspired and empowered. Read more…

photo taken by Task Force on 21st Century Policing

RAC Submits Public Comments to President’s Policing Task Force

The Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which President Obama created by Executive Order in December, convened for the first time on Tuesday, January 13. The first listening session was on “Building Trust and Legitimacy” and included testimony from five different panels of witnesses representing members of the law enforcement community, local politicians and mayors, community representatives and civil society leaders. The Task Force also solicited public comments – see below for an excerpt of the RAC’s comments and click here to read the comments in full. Read more…

Sign Repeal Death Penalty

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Updates on the Death Penalty

Just last month, the Reform Movement proudly participated in the launch of the 90 Million Strong Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty. Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism spoke on behalf of the Reform Movement, which has long advocated for the abolition of the death penalty and reform of the criminal justice system. Since joining the campaign, a lot has happened around the issue, some good news and other less inspiring news. Read more…

MLK, Eisendrath, Heschel

Praying With Our Feet For Economic Justice

When reflecting on his experience marching in Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel stated that he was “praying with my feet.” This act of transforming words and faith into action for justice and equality is a key underpinning of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Jewish social justice – one of the many reasons why there was such a deep Jewish involvement. One of the core issues that the Reform Movement has in common with Dr. King is our mission to combat economic inequality.

Dr. King believed strongly that everyone should have access to a livable income and he advocated passionately for equal access to jobs and economic opportunity. Although four states voted to increase the minimum wage last November, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is far too low. In 1968 (the year Dr. King was assassinated), the federal minimum wage would be worth over $10/hour in today’s dollars.

The current minimum wage engenders a cycle of income inequality, for it is near enough for anyone to live by: in no states can a minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom apartment working a 40 hour week. Raising the minimum wage would also help improve the economy, by increasing productivity, reducing turnover, saving on recruiting/training costs, reducing absenteeism, and lifting 2 million Americans out of poverty.

Read more…

Dr. King Pulpit Ebenezer Baptist Church

Why This MLK Day Is Different from All Other MLK Days

Every year, on the third Monday of January, our country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day by reflecting on his legacy and enjoying a day off from work. We take this time to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and the impact he had on our nation’s fight for civil rights. Read more…

front door of the RAC, our year in blogs

2014 at the RAC: Our Year in Blogs  

The (secular) New Year brings new opportunities and new challenges in the world of Jewish social justice. The 114th Congress will convene on January 3, 2015 at noon. As we look towards what 2015 will bring, let’s take a moment to look back at 2014 through 14 RACBlog highlights.

This list is a mix of our most popular blogs or the blogs that represent landmark moments in our programming or observances. Don’t see your favorite blog here? Let us know in the comments! Read more…