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For Immediate Release:  April 28, 2015

Contact: Jonathan Gilad, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
jgilad@thejcpa.org; 202-212-6031

In the Wake of Baltimore City Protests, JCPA Calls For a New National Conversation 

Washington - From Ferguson to Staten Island, from North Charleston to Baltimore City, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has stood in horror as unarmed African American men have been brutalized and in some cases gun down by law enforcement officials. For months, these deaths served as catalysts for peaceful protests and reflection, but also unfortunately, as dangerous sparks for violence throughout the nation. These violent acts that precipitated the protest were not random, nor sadly, can we say for certain that incidents of this type will be the last we will see. We do know that they are the direct result of already entrenched tensions between law enforcement and the African American and other disadvantaged communities.  “There has been an underlying tension in the community between the Baltimore City Police and the African American Community. What happened with Freddie Gray was a catalyst driving the present protests and unfortunate violence we are now witnessing,” said Art Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, the field office of the JCPA. 

“At this critical time in our nation’s history it is abundantly clear that a conversation not only needs to be had between law enforcement and disenfranchised communities- namely the African American community, but within our own communities.  We hope that with the installment of Loretta Lynch as the new Attorney General, the justice department will redouble its efforts to address these issues,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, JCPA President. 

“How can we sit idly by while this pattern of conflict exists? We must take up the mantle of equal justice under the law and that the issues that are causing these unacceptable circumstances aren’t sidelined. We may not have the easy answers to address these entrenched patterns, but a  candid conversation  with a thoughtful plan for action is a good place to begin,” said Susan W. Turnbull, JCPA Chair. 

In August of 2014, the JCPA issued this statement regarding the Ferguson protests. 
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 17 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

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