Washington – From Ferguson to Staten Island, from North Charleston to Baltimore City, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has stood in horror as unarmed African American men have been brutalized and in some cases gunned down by law enforcement officials. For months, these deaths served as catalysts for peaceful protests and reflection, but also unfortunately, as dangerous sparks for violence throughout the nation. Neither violence by law enforcement nor violence by protestors is an acceptable solution. “There has been an underlying tension in the community between the Baltimore City police and the African American community. What happened with Freddie Gray was a catalyst driving the present protests and unfortunate violence we are now witnessing,” said Art Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, a member agency of the JCPA.
“At this critical time in our nation’s history it is abundantly clear that a conversation not only needs to be had between law enforcement and disenfranchised communities- particularly the African American community, but within our own communities. We hope that with the installment of Loretta Lynch as the new Attorney General, the justice department will redouble its efforts to address these issues,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, JCPA President.
“How can we sit idly by while this pattern of conflict exists? We must take up the mantle of equal justice under the law so that the issues that are causing these unacceptable circumstances aren’t sidelined. We may not have the easy answers to address these entrenched patterns, but a candid conversation with a thoughtful plan for action is a good place to begin,” said Susan W. Turnbull, JCPA Chair.