For Immediate Release
November 9, 2016
Contact: Max Rosenblum or Graham Roth
202.387.2800 | email@example.com
WASHINGTON – The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) celebrates the passage of Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, a major focus of its Reform CA initiative. Lee Winkelman, California Organizing Director of the RAC, and Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, issued the following statements:
Lee Winkelman, California Organizing Director of the Religious Action of Reform Judaism: “The passage of Prop 57 is a vital step forward in our efforts to combat systemic racism in California’s sentencing laws. The Reform Jewish Movement is committed to comprehensive criminal justice reform and ending the plague of mass incarceration. Reforming sentencing laws is a clear example of our embrace of t’shuvah, the process of repentance and self-change. This success is a testament to the strength of our multi-faith campaign run in partnership with PICO California, the Industrial Areas Foundation and other allies.”
Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco: “To pass Proposition 57, the Reform Jewish community in California helped to create a coalition that united people across lines of faith, race and difference. Governor Brown challenged communities of faith to work against the moral outrage of mass incarceration. During this campaign we answered that call. Here and across the country, our criminal justice system treats too many people as if they are disposable and people of color are disproportionately punished. With a renewed commitment to rehabilitation, Prop 57 is a step forward in the fight against mass incarceration.”
Reform CA, a project of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will remain committed to working with our interfaith coalition to advance our priorities of criminal justice reform and racial justice beyond the 2016 election. During this campaign, 30 Reform Jewish congregations, representing roughly 40,000 Californians, joined the Tikkun Tikvah effort to pass Proposition 57. In partnership with PICO California, Reform CA organized a campaign of direct voter contact in communities across the state and hosted 29 issue forums, sermons, and other programs to discuss Prop 57 at houses of worship. On September 12, Reform CA and PICO California organized a statewide summit in Sacramento, bringing 150 activists to meet with Governor Brown, hear from formerly incarcerated people, and encourage state legislators to join the campaign and commit to supporting long-term criminal justice reform beyond this election.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.