On Friday, May 1st, we brought the Jewish community together and marched in solidarity with our neighbors to City Hall, where we rallied in the name of #JusticeForFreddie. Various news media covered our action (check out this piece that Baltimore JUFJer Rachel Cohen wrote for Haaretz). We livetweeted the march and collected the best pictures for a Facebook album.
You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.
From Baltimore Director, Molly Amster, updated 4/30/2015
We are horrified and heartbroken by the death of 25-year-young Freddie Gray z"l, who died from spine-breaking injuries sustained while being arrested by Baltimore Police. Many of us have been in the streets protesting and marching, and we'll continue to do so. JUFJ stands with the people of Baltimore and calls for police accountability, an end to militarized policing and racist targeting of Black people, and truth and justice in the coverage of ongoing protests in our communities.
At this time we are also hearing from many people in our community, especially rabbis, who are asking what we can do. This is incredibly moving and I thank you all for your commitment. We're following the leadership of Black organizers and clergy in Baltimore, who have asked that outsiders not come without specific invitations (see below). I'll keep you in the loop as the situation evolves.
What you can do now (updated 5/21/2015):
1. Give Money or Food
Our ally BmoreUnited is a coalition of citizens and organizations working for justice on the front lines. They're coordinating a range of efforts including lunches and safe spaces for children not in the closed schools and legal support. They could really use a gift for either:
- Supplies, communications infrastructure, food, and transportation for organizers and/or volunteers working with the Baltimore Algebra Project.
- Their fund to ensure that every person arrested during this crisis, regardless of charges, has access to proper legal representation.
Youth Empowerment Society (YES), a drop-in center for homeless youth, was damaged in a fire. Founded and run by formerly homeless youth and their allies, YES supports currently/formerly homeless youth to become community leaders and provides direct services to homeless youth. Donate to YES here.
Non-perishable food donations are badly needed in neighborhoods where food access is already a problem. With public transportation shut down it is even harder. Food can be dropped off at St Peter Claver Parish Hall, 1526 N. Fremont Ave.
Toiletries are needed at Druid Heights Community Development Corporation (2140 McCullough St).
Legal Support: The Ferguson Legal Defense Committee is looking for folks in the legal profession and available to serve as a legal observer, jail care, or hotline volunteer. If you are able, please sign up for volunteer shifts. They are also hosting volunteer trainings to interested lawyers, law students and legal workers of color. Sign up to learn more.
Volunteer at the Senior Center at 1520 W. North Ave, which houses 70 people (and sits next to the vandalized CVS). They're accepting donations of toiletries and household products, and they also need help in prescription errands for tomorrow and Friday (as their CVS is now gone). They're also in dire need of hot meals if you have connections to a kitchen. Please call 410-383-8595 and ask for Ms. Jones.
Volunteer at a Community Action Center. They're coordinating volunteers at different meeting points from Monday-Friday (8:30AM-4:30PM). Here are the phone numbers for the different locations:
- Southern (606 Cherry Hill Road): 410-545-0900
- Southeastern (3411 Bank Street): 410-545-6518
- Eastern (1400 E. Federal Street): 410-545-0136
- Northern (5225 York Road): 410-396-6084
- Northwestern (3939 Reisterstown Rd): 443-984-1384
3. Stay informed
No doubt many of you are following this story closely. Some media sources are reinforcing racist tropes and focusing on "rioting" while thousands more of us here are working in unity for justice and praying that no harm comes to anyone. JUFJ leader Owen Silverman Andrews writes in the Forward about our local Jewish community response and responsibility. For an excellent piece on the meaning of riots, read Ta-Nehisi Coates' piece here. We're posting regularly on Twitter and Facebook, and if you're not on social media, I recommend progressive news outlets like The Root, Mother Jones, or the Nation.
See here for additional resources for rabbis and Jewish leaders.
4. Come Together
We'll keep you updated about new rallies, vigils, and other opportunities for us to come together as a community. Check out a document from Baltimore Uprising for helpful tips when protesting (scroll to bottom).
Monday, 5/18-5/22, 5:30pm daily: Water Shut Off Canvassing
Thursday, 5/21, 6:30pm: (rescheduled) Moving from Protests to Policy
We'll post upcoming events as we learn about them, but the bottom line is to care for your heart and your community in these heartbreaking times.
I pray for the safety of everyone in Baltimore, for justice for Freddie Gray's family, and for all our communities.