J Street stands in solidarity with communities of color all across the nation today as they express continued shock, grief and anger at the killing of George Floyd.
The killing of Mr. Floyd is but the latest in a horrific and seemingly never-ending string of assaults on the lives of African-Americans and other people of color. We join all who are calling for arrests, criminal charges and justice related to Mr. Floyd’s death.
Most importantly, we speak as an organization whose identity is primarily, though not exclusively, Jewish and whose work is grounded in the values upon which our community was raised and a core belief in the fundamental equality, worth and dignity of every human being. We understand all too deeply the pain of centuries of antisemitism, hatred and tragedy. We relate to the different yet all-too-familiar experience of communities of color who, in this country, have experienced centuries of bigotry, violence and oppression. Many members of the American Jewish community are people of color who in this moment are confronted with an onslaught of rising and often interrelated anti-Jewish and anti-black hatred.
As Jews, we can recognize a society pervaded by fundamental and structural racism. It has been clearly demonstrated in the coronavirus pandemic, whose victims are disproportionately black, brown and Native American. It is demonstrated every day in the way American citizens and noncitizens living among us are discriminated against in education, employment and day-to-day interactions based on the color of their skin or the accent of their speech.
As an organization dedicated to peace, justice, equality and democracy, we take it as a sacred obligation to stand in partnership with communities of color under attack in this country, just as they stand against the scourge of antisemitism.
Our country is literally dying and bleeding today. Tragically, our president, rather than looking to heal the nation’s wounds and close its gaping divides, revels in stoking the flames of hate and throwing fuel on the fires of racism and division.
We must do everything within our power to defeat President Trump this November. But it would be naive to imagine that a single election could undo centuries of inequity or significantly alter America’s deeply entrenched system of structural racism.
In this moment and in every moment, we must recognize our personal, communal and societal complicity in the persistence of racism, injustice and inequality in our country. We must recommit, in light of all that is happening around us, to the fight against evils that have plagued the United States since its founding.
May the memories of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others be an inspiration to us all to address the deep wounds in our society and to work toward a future in which, as Martin Luther King put it, “this nation will one day rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
Please consider a donation to one of these organization actively working to fight racism: