Monday, December 22, 2014
We, the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, condemn the recent grand jury decisions to not indict the police officers responsible for killing Michael Brown and Eric Garner. We condemn the racist police violence that has killed not just Brown and Garner but also Aiyana Stanley Jones, Islan Nettles, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Deshwanda Sanchez, and countless others. We are horrified that in the United States, police kill a black person once every twenty-eight hours.
We condemn the many aspects of the American criminal justice system that have given rise to these injustices: an overly militarized police force, minimal police accountability, rampant and unchallenged racism in policing communities. Recent events remind us once again that racism quite literally kills and that the fight for racial justice is far from over.
We stand in solidarity with black student organizers at Harvard who have brought the Harvard community together to say that #BlackLivesMatter and to protest these recent decisions and the systemic problems from which they stem. We were deeply disappointed by the brevity of President Faust’s recent statement, which failed to address the grave and pressing nature of the issue at hand. We call upon Harvard to follow the lead of students of color at this university and lend its institutional power to the fight for racial justice in the Boston area and around the country.
We stand in solidarity with protesters in the Boston area and across the United States who are taking to the streets to demand change. In a world in which “normalcy” consists of white supremacy and systematic state violence inflicted upon communities of color, we applaud efforts to disrupt this normalcy to pressure national, state, and local governments to change their policies and promote racial and economic justice.
We further commend the many individuals and organizations in the Boston Jewish community and the American Jewish community who have taken action to address the issue of racist police violence. We are proud to have signed the Jewish communal letter calling for police accountability and we urge all other Jewish organizations to sign on as well. We are proud to have participated in the national #BlackLivesMatter Chanukah action last week and look forward to participating in similar actions in the future. We urge all Jewish leaders and community members to address this issue through actions as well as words.
Finally, we call upon Harvard Hillel and Hillel International to stand in opposition to racist police violence and in support of recent racial justice protests around the country. As the self-proclaimed Center for Jewish Life on Campus, Hillel must stand in support of black Jewish students, as well as Jewish students of color more generally. Furthermore, as Hillel International seeks to honor historical civil rights struggles and the role that American Jews played in these fights, it must unequivocally affirm this commitment to anti-racism by standing up for racial justice and civil rights today.