The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine stands in solidarity with the Black community in Maine and nationwide. We condemn the police killing of George Floyd, and the history of police brutality targeting people of color, especially Black and Indigenous people. Our outrage is deepened by a history of failures to hold police accountable for their misconduct, and by our history as a nation of ignoring racism and economic and social inequality.

 

As a nation, we must come together to push for systemic change at the core of structural racism. More than ever, we need law enforcement to protect the rights of peaceful protesters as well as guard our communities from the acts of those who seek to destroy property and perpetrate violence. While protestors are expressing today’s pain and sorrow, we know that the work of addressing racial injustice within our society remains ongoing.

 

As Mainers, we cannot and should not delude ourselves that “these things don’t happen in Maine.” In fact, incidents of bias and discrimination are all too common here, and health disparities are significant. Right now, disproportionate numbers of Black people in this state are being impacted by COVID-19.

 

Silence is complicit acceptance. We must recognize that by virtue of our life experiences as Americans, we have absorbed racist ideas and behaviors. We encourage you to join us in challenging unconscious and conscious biases and committing to actively take steps to combat racism. This is difficult work that will require uncomfortable discussions with family and friends. Please tell us how the JCA can help you address these issues proactively. We will start by suggesting resources and educational opportunities, including virtual rallies, book groups, and workshops. We encourage you to share with us what you would like to see, or be part of creating, at this time.

 

The JCA is committed to this struggle. Racism and antisemitism are bred from the same dangerous ideology, and we must stand together against bigotry in all its forms. Our Jewish values call on us to support equality, righteousness and justice. Our commitment as Jews is to action: to protect and defend those most vulnerable, to stand with all people who advocate against systemic racism, and to be unwavering in our support of justice.

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