Protecting Tikkun Olam: big step forward!...but more work to be done
Jun 21, 2017 — Statement in Response to Federation Postponing SPD Award
This morning, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle announced that they will not present their Tikkun Olam award to Chief Kathleen O’Toole and the Seattle Police Department “at this time.” This is a testament to the power of collective action from hundreds of people seeking to hold ourselves accountable to the sacred notion of tikkun olam. We celebrate the groundswell of progressive Jewish voices that have produced this decision.
While we appreciate that the Federation has taken this step, our work here is far from over. In addition to rescinding the award, we originally asked the Federation to use the Tikkun Olam award time at Thursday’s meeting to invite in the community to say kaddish for Charleena Lyles, conduct a healing service, and engage the broader discussion of police force that is so urgently needed in our city. These requests have not been met. We call on the Federation to join us this Thursday evening in affirming through action that #BlackLivesMatter and that the Seattle Police has not kept communities of color--especially the Black community--safe. Gauging meaningful commitment to ethical public service (one of the original award criteria) by completing training around combating anti-Semitism is merely partial, preferential -- not holistic service.
Moreover, the Federation “stands by [their] original decision to bestow the award on Chief O’Toole and the SPD.” We know that as a multiracial Jewish community, we need to stand in this moment and every moment with our fellow community members, not with the police forces whose activity systematically undermines the wellbeing of communities of color across the region. This award to the SPD should never have been given in the first place, and we maintain our demand that the Federation rescind their award forever, use Jewish ritual and community to honor the life of Charleena Lyles, and begin a much needed introspection and critical discussion on race and policing.
That is why we are continuing to mobilize for our Radical Mincha for Black Lives:
Thursday, June 22
Hillel at University of Washington
4745 17th Avenue NE, Seattle 98105
Please check out the details at the Facebook Page in this message and please share this message and the Facebook page with friends.
Our petition was signed by almost 700 people within 48 hours. This speaks to the scope of mobilization and awakening in our community around these issues. We invite the Jewish Federation and other institutions to join us in creating a world of love, accountability, healing, and true tikkun olam. Thursday is only the beginning in this difficult and vital process.
-- Concerned Seattle Jews
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