Statement by Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service
NEW YORK, NY — “As we work as Jewish global citizens every day to combat human rights abuses around the world, we cannot be blind to the moral and structural failings of our own society. One such glaring failing is the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and the apparent inability of our criminal justice system to achieve justice for him and other people of color whose lives are lost all too frequently to senseless and excessive police force. This failing of our system is not a personal foible or one-time event but is rooted in the history of racism which—despite all the progress we have made as a society—still diminishes our justice system.
“As Jewish advocates for human rights, we must stand for justice at home and around the world. We understand from our historical experience what it means to have our lives treated by government authorities as being less valuable than those of others. We also are commanded by our core ethical teaching to “love the stranger” as we were once “strangers in Egypt,” meaning we need to view justice from the standpoint of the person with the least power. Finally, we know that we are not the first or the last to struggle for justice. We stand on the shoulders of generations of advocates for civil and human rights, many of them Jews.
“We urge our supporters to make their voices heard and to join with Bend the Arc and other progressive Jewish organizations active in the United States to pursue justice for Michael Brown and people of color.”
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