Events in the last several months have served to underscore the profound racial divide which continues to exist within our country. This divide increasingly undermines the efforts of people of goodwill to work together to ensure an open, inclusive, pluralistic society which safeguards the well-being of all its citizens. It is imperative that we move vigorously to narrow that divide.

 

In recent days, there has been a call by some members of the U.S. Congress for a national bipartisan commission to study race relations in the United States. The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) views such an undertaking as one which should be considered only as part of a broader national commitment to develop and implement bold new strategies to overcome the racial divisions which threaten to rend our nation and which impede efforts to eliminate inequities in American society.

Some of the participants in the Million Man March raised significant related issues which challenge the African American community: jobs and justice, problems of unemployment, crime, drugs, poverty, family structure, and self-esteem. These concerns too, demand strong effective responses not only from within the African-American community but from all Americans.

 

The organized Jewish community is deeply troubled by the bigotry, anti-Semitism and separatist ideology of Louis Farrakhan and by the enhancement of his stature, brought about by the march.

 

At the same time, we remain committed to working with all fair-minded people to combat those social conditions which fuel racial division and allow demagogues to thrive. We remain undeterred as well in our commitment to continued coalitional work with friends and colleagues in the African American community and other communities, with whom we share a common agenda rooted in the principles of equal opportunity and social justice for all people.

 

-end-

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