Reform Jewish Movement Mourns the Loss of Stephon Clark, Calls for Justice

April 2, 2018

Reform Jewish Movement Mourns the Loss of Stephon Clark, Calls for Justice

WASHINGTON – In response to the tragic death of Stephon Clark, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the wider Reform Movement:

“The shooting death of Stephon Clark joins the tragically long list of unarmed Black men killed by law enforcement in communities across our country. Reports indicate that Mr. Clark was unarmed, targeted in his grandmother’s backyard, shot several times in the side and back, and left for several minutes without medical treatment before he died. While the precise circumstances of the shooting are not fully known, each day brings new information that is cause for deep and growing concern. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we must bend the arc of history ever more toward justice.

“We honor and respect those in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect and serve our communities. Their work is difficult and dangerous. Yet so long as our justice system disproportionately criminalizes Black and Brown people, we fear that Mr. Clark will not be the last unarmed person of color killed by the police. The systemic and individual shortcomings that result in the ongoing plague of killings of unarmed men of color is unacceptable and cannot continue. We all – individuals and society alike – must be held accountable.

“Our hearts break for Stephon Clark’s children and family. We pray they will find peace and justice. May Stephon Clark’s memory be for a blessing.”


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 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 for more.