Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is the annual celebration of the contributions and achievements of African Americans in United States history. While so much has been accomplished in the fight for racial justice and civil rights, we also know that the path toward true justice is long.

Our Jewish tradition encourages our active participation in such efforts. As descendants of those who faced extreme oppression, we understand that we cannot stay silent as fellow Americans are treated differently on the basis of their race or skin color. The Jewish Center for Justice is committed to fighting back against persistent racial injustice that leads to the marginalization of communities and people of color.

In honor of Black History Month, we’ve compiled a short (but non-exhaustive) list of actions we as a Jewish community can take to achieve justice outcomes for Black Americans.

1. Call your member of Congress to support The John Lewis Voting Rights Act & The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would strengthen and modernize the Voting Rights Act and ensure that its strong provisions would apply to voters across the country. It would again give the Justice Department and courts the power to block states and localities from taking racially discriminatory steps to curb voting rights. The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act would provide financial benefits to states that reduce their incarceration rates without significant changes to their crime rates.

2. Urge your California representatives to support the Racial Justice Act for All
Ask your state elected official to support AB 256 to strengthen the Racial Justice Act from 2020, which would more easily allow individuals who have been incarcerated to appeal their case. Learn more about this crucial bill on bill sponsor Assemblymember Ash Karla’s (San Jose) website.

3. Support 3 pieces of legislation to end racial injustice
Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (Los Angeles) has introduced Assembly Bill 118, Assembly Bill 124 and ACA 3 as part of a package for the 2021-2022 session to help end racial injustice.

4. Follow AND Support civil rights organizations
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Brennan Center, and Congressional Black Caucus are all causes worthy of our deep support. Please follow these organizations on social media and support them as you would the Jewish Center for Justice.

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What are you doing, be it on a national level or in your own community, to help advance the cause of racial justice? There are of course hundreds of other actions we can all take, so let us know how you plan to act. Check out JCJ’s resources on racial justice.