D.C. clergy respond to killing of George Floyd

Anti racism protestors in Washington on June 6. Photo by David Stuck

More than 50 Washington-area clergy, including some 20 rabbis, released a letter on June 8 in response to the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests. The letter called for national leaders, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the D.C. Council and all elected officials to support the Black Lives Matter international human rights movement.

“Now is the time for us to dismantle the racialized policing in this country,” the letter reads. “It is not acceptable to keep knees on the necks of people of color. We have united to express – first of all – our grief, love, and support for the family of George Floyd and families who over the years have been directly impacted by the fatal consequences of police brutality – and second, to say enough is, and has been for a long time, enough.”

The letter includes a list of eight demands regarding police reforms.

1. Declaring racism a public health emergency.


2. Convictions for all four police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd.

3. Revising police policies for the use of potentially lethal force.

4. Disinvesting additional Metropolitan Police Department funds and reinvesting them into schools, community centers and youth programs.

5. Requiring police personal to live in the community in which they serve.

6. Hiring high school graduates of color without the requirement of either an Associates’s degree or military experience.

7. Identifying injustices that afflict the incarcerated including excessive periods in solitary confinement.

8. Working toward providing reparations for African Americans for slavery.

The letter also calls out President Donald Trump for his June 1 photo op in front of St. John’s Church, where protestors were violently cleared from Lafayette Square by police.

The letter ends by encouraging people to go out to the polls and vote in November while exercising precautions against COVID-19.

Rabbis include:

Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Executive Director Interfaith Action for Human Right

Rabbi Alana Suskin,Chairperson, Maryland Poor People Campaign Pomegranate Initiative

Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman, Rabbi Emeritus Kol Shalom

Rabbi Mark Novak, Founder/Spiritual Leader Minyan Oneg Shabbat

Rabbi Rain Zohav, Director Jews of the Earth

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Ward 3 resident

Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow The Jewish Lab for Sustainability

Rabbi Saul Oresky Congregation Mishkan Torah

Rabbi Laurie Green, Spiritual Leader/Education Director Kehila Chadasha

Rabbi Julie Gordon Hill Havurah

Rabbi Daniel G. Zemel Temple Micah

Rabbi Devorah Lynn Jewish Social Services Agency

Rabbi Lia Bass Congregation Etz Hayim

Rabbi Richard A. Marker, Retired Professor

Rabbi Gilah Langner, Washington DC

Rabbi Jennifer Werner

Rabbah Arlene Berger

Rabbi Alison Bass


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