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Equal Rights – Racial Issues and Racial Profiling (2021)

Resolution for Racial Justice 2021

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism has a long history of supporting civil rights and justice for all.

Our Jewish history of slavery and pursuit of freedom has made us sensitive to the oppression and suffering of others. We believe that all people are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated equally, with dignity and respect. And when these inalienable rights are violated, we must speak out to create a more just society.

We have seen dramatic incidents of individuals and law enforcement officers treating people as criminals based on race, with consequent abuses perpetrated against these victims. At times, police inappropriately approach, detain and target people of color, while using excessive force as a means of control. This behavior causes intense frustration and pain, resulting from a long history of disparate and hostile treatment. Occasionally, frustration manifests in violence or destruction of physical property. We condemn those instances when peaceful demonstrations turn violent, and also when police officers are assaulted. But no matter how sympathetic we are to the difficulties of law enforcement striving to protect the public, we must affirm that pain and destructiveness result when particular groups are marked for abusive and discriminatory treatment.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is deeply concerned by recent incidents of violence against our minority sisters and brothers. The Jewish community is familiar with the challenges of self-advocacy, as well as the consequences of unchecked aggression targeting specific groups. We share this bond with all minority communities. The human rights struggles our society faced in the year 2020, and which continues, have strengthened this connection and heightened our awareness. In the words of Elie Wiesel, “Whenever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”

We accept the challenge to work together to defeat prejudice by building respect between communities and through personal relationships.

Whereas, the Jewish community and WLCJ value their history of positive and mutually enriching relationships with all minority communities; and

Whereas, WLCJ is on record through resolutions dating back more than 60 years on the subjects of Racial Profiling (2000), Racial Tensions (1990) and Civil Rights (1956, 1962); and

Whereas, WLCJ recognizes the need for responsible action by individuals, organizations and governments to address instances of brutality toward members of minority communities; and

Whereas, WLCJ recognizes that a peaceful society requires not just the absence of tension but the presence of justice; and

Whereas, WLCJ stands with those organizations that peacefully advocate for racial justice.

Therefore, Be It Resolved, WLCJ strongly urges its members to work with all communities for the causes of social action, education, and responsible law enforcement, and to support programs that address issues of bias and bigotry.

 

Racial Profiling by Police (2000)

We are concerned about the rising number of human rights violations perpetrated by police departments and other agencies which practice racial profiling – the process of assigning criminal status to a person based on skin color. Persons of color are more often detained by local police and highway patrols, and strip searched and targeted by customs officials. Innocent minority groups often feel like strangers in their own country. As Jews, we understand from our own history the destructiveness of being marked for disparate treatment and hostility.

At the same time, we are sympathetic to the difficulties of law enforcement in protecting the public and we are outraged at the assaults on police officers.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is unequivocally opposed to the practice of racial profiling as an erosion of our democratic form of government and of our civil rights. We urge our members to:

  1. Publicize this concern locally and call upon their communities, elected officials and law enforcement agencies to combat this practice.
  2. Encourage local and state law enforcement agencies to:
    1. Increase efforts to recruit, hire, retain and promote minority group members as police officers;
    2. Support initiatives that provide and encourage continuing education and minority sensitivity training sessions for all levels of law enforcement;
    3. Educate the community about the responsibilities, pressures and risks that law enforcement officials assume;
    4. Adopt measures to make offending officers and supervising personnel more accountable.

Racial Tensions (1990)

Securing fundamental rights for minorities reflects the fulfillment of the democratic promise of the United States. Recent racial clashes have heightened our concern to develop strategies to ease these tensions.

Despite differences in experience and attitudes, there are points of common concern and mutual interest among all people, regardless of race, color or creed. The challenge is to work together to break down prejudice and to rebuild direct personal relations.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges its Sisterhood/Affiliates to:

  1. Form coalitions with other racial groups to identify items on which we can work together to build bonds of understanding.
  2. Continue to support enforcement of Civil Rights Laws.
  3. Encourage development of educational programs to combat prejudice.