Another Black soul has been taken away from our world. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis in May. Countless lives including Black men and Black women have been lost at the hands of institutionalized racism. We join with people around the world in saying Dayenu (Enough)!
Hillel at Gallaudet takes a firm stand against police violence and systemic racism. We denounce the racist acts, attitudes, and policies that allow such tragedies to continue. We see the Black community and will work together toward dismantling the status quo, eradicating institutionalized racism, and ending police brutality.
Isidore Niyongabo, President of National Black Deaf Advocates, had this to say during a recent town hall event: “We at NBDA recognize the grief that we are all experiencing and we are tired. We are so tired of seeing this time and again. And still no justice for those killers.” He continued, “If we’re to be an America that is just and free, if we are to be a country that is for everyone…. it should be Americans [together] against racist systems.”
With this letter and our actions, we commit to starting with our own community. Hillel at Gallaudet has signed onto this Solidarity Statement, joining all people of good conscience in condemning the brutal killings and excessive violence at the hands of police. While we will always stand in solidarity with the Black community, this isn’t enough.
To start, this evening during ASL Shabbat we will co-host a discussion to determine what actions we as a community and Jewish organization will take to be better allies. We commit to uplifting Black voices on our platforms to educate our supporters and followers. Recognizing that our work must go beyond social media, we created a list of actions to take toward repairing our broken world (see below). To unite against systemic racism, we join an ongoing struggle.
Jewish texts and tradition encourage us to be there for others. We urge those with white privilege to unpack that privilege and show up for our Black brothers and sisters.
Actions We Can Take Toward Tikkun Olam (Repair the World)
- Listen, become informed and then engage. Initiate a dialogue with your friends, family, and others.
- Get involved with local and national politics. Contact your representatives to voice your opinions about racist policies and practices.
- Watch the town hall meeting led by National Black Deaf Advocates
- Read and watch the statement from Gallaudet’s Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Dr. Elavie Ndura
- Donate to organizations run by and for the Black Deaf community, such as National Black Deaf Advocates and Transformative Deaf Education.
Now is the time to denounce racist policing practices. Learn more about systemic injustices against Black people. Advocate for justice and equity. Take action to support our Black community.
Hillel at Gallaudet Board Members
Rhea Morgenstern, Allison Friedman, Myles Goldberg, Hillel Goldberg, Lilah Katcher, and Yelena Thomas
P.S. We welcome all to the ASL Shabbat Coalition via Zoom. On Friday, June 5, at 6:45 pm, Shabbat services will be followed by an oneg discussion. Register here. To get notifications about upcoming services, follow Hillel at Gallaudet on Facebook. Questions? Email ASLShabbatCoalition@gmail.com.
The ASL Shabbat Coalition is a partnership among Hillel at Gallaudet, Washington Society for Jewish Deaf, Jewish Deaf Congress, and the Jewish Deaf Resource Center. The Coalition offers remote Shabbat services for our Jewish Deaf community.