This week’s grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case in New York has, once again, exposed the ugliness of racial disparities and the differential treatment of black men by our criminal and judicial systems. Following so soon on the heels of the Ferguson grand jury decision, it has become all too clear that these events are not limited to any one locality; rather they underscore the enduring legacy of racism in our country, and the persistent gap in access and opportunities across the racial divide. People of all races are taking to the streets in cities around the country reaffirming that “Black Lives Matter.”
As Jews we know all too well the experience of marginalization and dehumanization. We’ve been vilified as “the other” throughout our history, our victimization repeatedly enabled by the silence and inaction of others. We cannot stand idly by as others are denied equal protection under and by the law. While the vast majority of police officers risk their lives daily to protect us, the treatment of all black citizens by members of law enforcement must change. We are hopeful that the outrage expressed through peaceful demonstrations in so many cities, including Boston will serve as a catalyst for systemic change. We join in this call to action to achieve full equality in our nation.