A Call to the Reform Jewish Community: Take Action Through Our Racial Justice Campaign

July 16, 2021Melissa Bendell

The launch of the Reform Movement’s Racial Justice Campaign comes at a critical and urgent moment. The racial reckoning rooted in 400 years of oppression and dehumanization that emerged during the tragic events of summer 2020 revealed with clarity the reality that many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) experience every day: that systemic racism is intertwined in every aspect of North American life. 

Our Racial Justice Campaign commits the Reform Jewish community to engage in this important work, both within our communities and ourselves, and statewide, nationwide, and in Canada. We cannot do this work alone. Together, we can bring the collective power of the Jewish community together to advocate for legislation and policy changes and commit to the internal antiracist work on both the community and individual levels.

If you missed the launch of this campaign, you can view the recording.

Below are opportunities to take action as an individual and with your congregation or community to advance racial justice:

ENGAGE IN ESSENTIAL RACIAL EQUITY, DIVERSITY, & INCLUSION (REDI) WORK INTERNALLY AND IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

TAKE ACTION AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL TO ENSURE THE FREEDOM TO VOTE:

TAKE ACTION FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AT THE STATE LEVEL WITH YOUR RAC STATE PROJECT:

COMMIT TO REFORMING CANADA’S MANDATORY MINIMUM PENALTIES THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACT BLACK AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES. 

Mandatory minimums apply to a range of offences and the number of mandatory minimum penalties under federal law was seven times larger in 2020 than it was in 1995. Yet studies show that while such penalties do not meaningfully deter crime, they have clearly coincided with an increase in the imprisonment of Black and Indigenous Canadians.

Federal bill C-22 would repeal mandatory minimum penalties for some firearm offences and drug crimes. For those who do not pose a threat to the community, the proposed law would also make greater use of conditional sentences, counseling, and treatment, all of which include accountability while allowing the individual to maintain ties to communal support networks.  While not perfect, the bill is a step in the right direction toward addressing the racial injustices inherent within mandatory minimum penalties. 

Stay tuned for opportunities to lift your voice in support of reforms to mandatory minimums in Canada. 

Learn more about the Racial Justice Campaign and subscribe to our Racial Justice Campaign email list to be the first to know about updates and receive the social media toolkit

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