In response to Women’s March California and other local chapters clarifying their separation from the harmful affiliations of national Women’s March leaders, Jewish Center for Justice Board Chair Julie Bank and Manager of Jewish Engagement and Advocacy Leah Sternberg issued the following statement:
From the moment JCJ opened its doors, we have supported Women’s Marches both locally and around the country. As a community, we have marched arm-in-arm, voicing shared values, and creating a tapestry of strength and inclusivity. These marches have sparked a watershed movement that has fueled positive change and amplified diverse female leaders.
While we emphatically celebrate these gains, we currently face a communal dilemma as to how we — the Jewish community — partner with future Women’s Marches. How do we react when leaders of the national Women’s March make disturbing comments that are unquestionably offensive to our Judaism and our commitment to Israel? Further, how should we navigate those same leaders’ affiliation with Louis Farrakhan, an individual who publicly denigrates both the Jewish and LGBTQ communities? The simple answer is: we don’t. We remain outraged with the leaders of the national Women’s March who — while purporting to lift up all women and fight bigotry — are blatantly excluding Jewish women and LGBTQ people by standing with public figures like Farrakhan.
In the face of such troubling circumstances, we are encouraged by the response of Women’s March California and others. After multiple conversations between the Jewish community and local leaders of the Women’s March, we have been reassured that the strength of the March comes from grassroots coalitions built through local marches. JCJ reaffirms our support for this year’s local Marches, whose leaders have stressed the importance of being inclusive to women of all faiths, as well as the LGBTQ community.
This expression of solidarity is why we look forward to being embraced by organizers and participants of Women’s March LA and others throughout the west coast. JCJ values the partnership of Women’s March LA in our work to end family separation, advocate for gun violence prevention, and end voter suppression. When we call on Women’s March LA and Women’s March California as partners, we know we will be received with care and intention by local leadership.
And so, we encourage you to join JCJ and other local Jewish organizations on January 19th as we bring our Judaism to the streets and create a meaningful Shabbat experience at the March. Now, more than ever, we must celebrate the progress that has been made, reinforce partnerships with those who share our values, and proudly live out our Judaism in the public sphere.