Racial Justice

The Reform Movement works in partnership with representatives from diverse communities to fight the structural racism that is embedded in our society and to advance justice for all people.

Description

The United States simply cannot achieve the values of “justice for all” to which it aspires until we address ongoing racism in all sectors and at all levels of society. Despite the abolishment of slavery in 1865, systemic oppression, police violence, and racial discrimination against Black Americans and people of Color continues today. Lynchings, Jim Crow laws, restricted access to the ballot box, a biased criminal justice system, and redlining are just some examples of how racial inequity has been sustained in American life. Systemic disparities and injustices will endure unless proactive steps are taken to acknowledge and eliminate them. The Reform Movement works across lines of difference to fight the structural racism that is embedded in our society and to advance justice for all people, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Why We Care about Racial Justice

In the Torah, Jews are taught to accept others, without prejudice or bias. The Torah states "You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman, but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Eternal" (Leviticus 19: 17-18). Our Jewish tradition is replete with instances of moral reckoning when we are asked to be present and accounted for. “Ayecha?” we are asked. “Where are you?” We respond with a full throated, “Hineinu.” “We are here.”

As Reform Jews committed to the spirit of this teaching, we say unequivocally, Black Lives Matter. To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to commit to a human and civil rights movement, working to end systemic racism against Black people and white supremacy.

To affirm that Black Lives Matter is to recognize that we are a racially diverse Reform Jewish Movement, and that our diversity is a source of our strength.

Take Action Now!

Reparations Engagement

The ongoing wounds of slavery and more than four centuries of entrenched racial oppression continues to impact every part of American society. One way to address entrenched racial discrimination and systemic disparities is through the study and development of reparations proposals. Urge your elected officials to cosponsor the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (S. 1083/H.R. 40).

Justice in Policing Act

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Dreasjon “Sean” Reed are just some of the latest victims of the nation’s long history of brutality against People of Color, and particularly Black men. Changes to federal laws are vital to ensure that law enforcement training, use of force policies, and data collection address historic and systemic racial injustices. Urge your Senator to cosponsor the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (S. 3912).

Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Racial Justice

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions 

From CCAR:

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Engage Your Congregation

Every Voice, Every Vote

Georgia is having a run-off election on January 5, 2020, for both of its U.S. Senate seats. Our work on this election is an extension of the Reform Movement’s broader 2020 civic engagement campaign.

Brit Olam Racial Justice Cohort

Whether your community has been working thoughtfully on issues of racial justice and inclusion for a long time, or if you are just starting out, this cohort will support you

How to Start a Social Justice Book Club

Reform Jews across North America come together in their own communities to read, explore and discuss social justice-themed books. RAC Reads provides thought-provoking stories and tools to get your family, congregation, and community talking about racial justice.

What's New

Related Press Releases

Related Issues

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Civil Rights & Voting Rights

Since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Jewish community has continued its support of civil rights laws addressing systemic discrimination in voting, housing, and employment against women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities.

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Criminal Justice Reform

There is growing evidence that race and poverty play a role in determining who gets arrested, who gets a fair trial, and how those convicted are sentenced. 

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White letterboard with the words BLACK LIVES MATTER in black plastic letters

What is Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter is a human and civil rights movement, working to end systemic racism against Black people. Here is a quick primer on the movement, its principles, and more.

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Reparations

Reparations can take many forms and, in practice, these measures may manifest as congressional hearings, a national apology, the institution of government programs, creation of tax incentives for Black-owned businesses, educational stipends for Black Americans, individual or community compensation, or other approaches.

Learn About What Our Partners are Doing

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Learn more about the RAC's key issues and get involved by signing up for the legislative updates newsletter.

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Contact Our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Josh Burg at (202) 796-6508.