Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
If this “moment” is going to lead into a new chapter in our country’s civil rights journey, and if Indianapolis is going to become a “better place for all its residents,” then the “work” of dismantling systemic racism must be sustained on both the individual and collective levels.
Organized activism and strategic advocacy that supports significant changes in laws, policies, and practices is obviously required. Calling for elected leaders to act with a sense of urgency is critical. National elections are important, but often structural systems are under the control of state and local authorities. Voting — and ensuring the ready access to the vote — are key.
Activism is an outgrowth of learning, and learning is the result of resilient listening. While some people may not see themselves as an activist, every person can work on listening to voices and honoring the experiences of someone not like themselves.
The Jewish community is not separate from the fight for racial equity because the fight for racial equity includes cherished members of our own community, which is why we are committed to lifting up the voices of Black Jews.
We each need to look inward and acknowledge our own prejudices, educate ourselves, and do the work to be anti-racist. This work is not easy, and it is not simple. It is a lifelong undertaking. Racism has existed in our country for hundreds of years and it cannot be eradicated in a matter of months
The Jewish community will work as long as it takes, both individually and communally, in public and in private, to fight for equity, justice, and the right of all people, regardless of the color of their skin, to live without fear and to thrive