We Stand in Solidarity
By Joel Pittelman, Chair
Jewish Community Relations Council
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples is heartbroken and outraged by the cruel and unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis several days ago. We stand with the African American community and all communities of color in mourning the death of Mr. Floyd, and countless others who have lost their lives simply because of the color of their skin.
We also call on people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, and faiths to speak up now against the poisonous persistence of racism that is truly the shame of our nation. The words of our ancient Hebrew texts cry out to us: “Justice, Justice shall you pursue!” The injustice of George Floyd’s killing highlights the sad history of the treatment of African Americans by some law enforcement officers. All communities must redouble their efforts to eliminate bias on their police forces which permits two standards of justice: one for whites, and a different standard for people of color.
Racism in America—just like the rising tide of antisemitism in the nation—is a virus that spreads with passive acceptance. If we are not speaking out against bigotry and prejudice, we are part of the problem. Defeating it requires a united effort; we must see ourselves in the marginalization of the other, and we must act against it as if we were the ones targeted. As Jews, we know personally and painfully the dangers of unchecked hatred, particularly when it is harbored by those in power.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, through its Jewish Community Relations Council, will continue its ongoing initiatives in common cause with the Black and other minority communities. We will continue to work closely together to educate, engage and advocate against hate, including the racism we continue to witness in the United States. The effort to combat injustice and intolerance requires all of us, because hate knows no single color or creed. There is no room in our society for any form of hatred toward segments of our society.
We will not stand idly by.