We are so moved by the outpouring of support, curiosity, and openness in response to our Havdalah & Teach-In. Thank you for being part of this critical conversation.
When Jamon spoke, I was struck by the deep racial divides on which our system of policing was built. When Rocky spoke, I saw how those divides are still present and harming Detroiters today. When Aaron reflected on the transformative change that is happening in Minneapolis, I felt hopeful, while also skeptical and afraid. When I heard four beloved members of the Metro Detroit Jewish community talk about how this moment is challenging their imaginations, I felt energized. I felt as though I was not alone.
These past few weeks have been confusing-- what does it mean to defund the police? What does community policing look like? And I’ve felt hopeful, imagining a Jewish community acting in solidarity, motivated by strength and love, instead of fear.
Needless to say, I haven’t completely figured it out yet, and neither has the DJJ community. On Saturday’s call we heard from people advocating for everything from police reform to police abolition. And while we differ in opinion and approach, it didn’t feel like there was a division. What I witnessed on the call was deep listening, true attempts at understanding, and the opening of an ongoing dialogue. That is what Jewish community motivated by strength and love looks like. Thank you for leaning into that discomfort with us as we continue to grow and learn together. Wherever you land on the spectrum from police reform to abolition, you and your voice are welcome in DJJ.
Are you ready to take action with DJJ for racial justice? Here are some ways to plug in, even if you are brand new to the community:
Looking for a DJJ contact at the daily rallies downtown? Our housing justice liaison, Alexa, would be happy to connect via email at Alexa.Eisenberg@gmail.com.
Still struggling to wrap your mind around defunding the police? Check out this article from the Guardian, and keep an eye on the resource page on DJJ’s website. We’ll continue sharing what’s helping us learn. There were also tons of great resources shared in the chat during the call. A list of those, along with lingering questions can be found at the bottom of this post.
We are moved to know that many of you have donated to the racial justice organizations we’ve suggested-- y’shkoyach/more power to you! Saturday night reminded me why, as a multiracial community too often targeted by antisemitic violence, our active engagement in these movements is critical. Please consider setting up a monthly donation or a one-time gift to help us meet this moment.
Resources the community shared in the chat:
- HBO documentary Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops - A look at Texas police officers who take an innovative approach to diffusing dangerous situations.
- Reveal News “Hundreds of cops are in extremist Facebook groups. Why haven’t their departments done anything about it?” 09/30/2019 - investigative journalism on police officers’ associations with known hate groups
- NBC News’s “The Vast Majority of U.K. Police Don't Carry Guns. Here's Why.” 03/23/2017
- Alex Vitale YouTube Video “Why Community Policing Won’t Work”
Questions the community shared in the chat:
- Did the US retaliate against Canada for their complicity in the liberation of slaves? If yes, how?
- Regarding defunding the police, can there be reform in this social system?
- What do the logistics of the end of policing look like?
- Are there models in other countries for policing that is community-based and humane policing? And what does racial and economic justice look like in these places?
- What if our dream was expansive enough to include the disappearance of antisemitism?
- In this revision of police systems and training, is there space to train people on neurodiversity and how to engage people with varying needs?
- How does this relate to American gun laws and the threat of readily available/accessible assault weapons? How will defunding the police affect the regulation of guns, if at all?