Statement on Systemic Racism

Tags: Federation, Advocacy

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We have got to do more.

The heinous and blatant brutality by a white Minneapolis police officer that led to the death of George Floyd – a black man – is a sickening example of the racial bias and injustice that has permeated our society for generations.

We join all who mourn the loss of Mr. Floyd’s life and pray his memory is for a blessing to his family and all who loved him. We share the heartbreak, pain, and sorrow that others throughout our community feel over this and the other recent racist-fueled deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Pamela Turner. And we pledge to our brothers and sisters in the black community – and all communities of color – to work together to reverse the systemic racism embedded within our country’s institutions and society in general.

Together, we can and must be stronger than hate. We will not stop fighting for a world free of racism and bigotry in all of its forms. After 400 years of institutional racism in our society, we must do more than talk – we must take action.

Therefore, we call for the strongest appropriate charges to be made immediately against all four of the officers responsible for Mr. Floyd’s death and that full justice be pursued swiftly. We also condemn the apparent criminal element that have sought to hijack rallies across the country from the black community and others protesting racism for their own violent and destructive agenda. We urge authorities to identify and investigate those involved and bring all responsible to justice.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland has been in regular contact with leaders of Cleveland’s black community and will work in concert with them to help bring about a change that is long overdue. It won’t be easy, but we must take action towards dismantling the systems of oppression that threaten the lives of all people of color every day in our country. We need your help:

  1. Put pressure on District Attorney Mike Freeman to charge and arrest the officers responsible by calling 612-348-5550
  2. Protest peacefully – violence and vandalism cannot be allowed to distract from the important message that must be sent
  3. Challenge your own conscious and unconscious biases on racial equity and inclusion by reading more, asking more questions, and listening more closely to ensure you’re being the best ally you can as part of the collective journey our society must take

Our Jewish traditions and values compel us to stand up for the rights of all people without prejudice or bias. If we do not speak out, if we do not take action, we are part of the problem.

If you have questions or ideas you’d like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, we will keep you abreast of developments as we move forward.

J. David Heller
Board Chair

Gregg A. Levine
Community Relations Committee Chair

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