JCUA members deliver 160 postcards to Chicago aldermen calling on them not to vote on the Fraternal Order of Police contract expiring in June without significant reforms.
CHICAGO, IL – On Sunday, April 2nd, more than 250 people gathered at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park for Out From The Narrows, JCUA’s Passover community meeting for police accountability. Attendees heard moving testimonials from family members of victims of police violence, including Stacey Robey, sister of Michele Robey, and Arewa Karen Winters, great aunt of 16 year old Pierre Loury. They spoke about the pain of losing a loved one, but also of how they were moved to take action and speak out to bring police misconduct into the spotlight.
Community and religious leaders including Adam Gross, Director of BPI Chicago’s Justice Reform Program, Pastor Ron Taylor, Executive Director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, and Rabbis from across Chicago spoke about how we got to this point, and what the Jewish community’s role should be in organizing for change.
JCUA Executive Director Judy Levey said, “When there is suffering across our city, and when a code of silence exists in the police department, along with a misguided contract that conceals misconduct, our entire city is wounded…As the hate and bigotry unleased during November’s presidential election has gained steam, we as Jews have been made to feel particularly uneasy about our own relative safety. It is moments like these that ought to bring a moral clarity to our community. We cannot be distracted from the need to stand in solidarity with those in our city who are hammered by systems that fail them. When anti-Semitism is on the rise is exactly when we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with other communities across this city and say – we are with you.”
Cydney Wallace, a JCUA member and Jewish woman of color expressed her frustration and hope for the situation: “Yes, I am a person of color and could therefore be targeted, but it is important to know, that this is NOT why I feel strongly about this issue. I feel strongly about this issue because PEOPLE are UNJUSTLY being targeted. We cannot afford to ally ourselves with people who do not understand that one group’s oppression is everyone’s oppression…I appeal to you, find your place in this fight in whatever capacity it may be and give it your all. We need each other.”
The event concluded with the signing of postcards to be delivered to our aldermen calling on them NOT to vote on the expiring Fraternal Order of Police contract without reforms. JCUA support the reforms put forth by the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability (CPCA). JCUA is also working with the newly announced Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), a community organization advocating for increased transparency within the force and an expanded, permanent place at the table for community members and concerned citizens to be genuinely heard, consulted for input and communicated with to develop and monitor improvements.
On Wednesday, April 5, 20 JCUA members went to City Hall to deliver the postcards to the aldermen of 28 different wards.