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Memphis Jewish Community Sends Statement of Solidarity to Black Memphis

by JCPConnect-

We are heartened that our entire Jewish community has come together to mourn the death of George Floyd and other African Americans who have been killed as a result of hate, racism and bigotry. We have all signed a solidarity letter recognizing the existence of racism in our society.

While words are not enough, our standing together as one Jewish community in acknowledgment of the pain of people of color and the ills of our society is a critical and constructive first step. We share so much in common, yet black and brown skin means you will disproportionately experience injustices and prejudice that can put lives on completely different trajectories.

We plead for an end to the violence, vandalism and looting that have arisen in the wake of the tragedy.  We mourn the deaths of those who have been killed during the recent protests and send prayers for a full recovery to all those who have been injured, including police officers, peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders. We are pained by the desecration of synagogues and other houses of worship. We feel for the businesses, including Black and Jewish-owned, that have been destroyed and looted.

Together, we yearn for a better, more peaceful future. The body of the letter, signed by clergy and leadership of every Jewish organization in Memphis, reads as follows.

Memphis Jewish Community Statement of Solidarity with African American Community

June 2, 2020

We, members of the organized Memphis Jewish community, would like to take this opportunity to express our collective grief and outrage over the killing of George Floyd. We join all who mourn the loss of Mr. Floyd’s life and send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and community.

We mourn the deaths of countless others who have lost their lives because of hate, racism and bigotry. Our Jewish tradition compels us to not stand idly by and to pursue justice. Together, we stand in solidarity with our friends and partners in the African American community and in all communities of color, united as an ally in the fight for equality and the right of all people, regardless of the color of their skin, to live without fear.

We stand with you during this difficult time and yearn for a better future.

The letter was sent Tuesday, June 2 to our colleagues at the local branch of NAACP, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Memphis Chapter of Black Lives Matter. Vickie Terry, Executive Director of NAACP Memphis Branch wrote back promptly.

“Thank you so much for joining with us during these difficult times,” she wrote. “We appreciate your support as we look forward to a better future.”

Read the full letter here, and see all signers.

Suggested Resources

Books

·         Douglas Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

·         Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (2018)

·         Debby Irving, Waking up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race (2014)

·         Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race (2018)

·         Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2015)

Films

·         13th (2016 Documentary)

·         Just Mercy (2019 legal drama, based on book)-  Available for free screening during the month of June

Ted Talks

·         How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them

·         The danger of a single story

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time

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