As an Interfaith justice organization, we grieve the targeted killing last week of Jewish and African American members of our human family: 11 Jewish worshipers at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and 2 African Americans in a Jeffersontown, Kentucky murdered by a gunman who first tried to enter a black church.
We mourn these precious lives and grieve with their families and loved ones. We understand that this attack is deeply traumatizing to our Jewish friends and partners, given the history of anti-Semitism. These killings are part of a rise in anti-Semitic acts in the past two years, and have been followed by more
anti-Semitic attacks in the past few days. We want you to know as an interfaith movement that we stand with the Jewish community and we are here for you.
For the African American community, the gunning down of two black people in Jeffersontown is one of thousands of inconceivable murders of African Americans in this country. This time, once again, a white nationalist targeted black people just trying to live their lives. Black people are targeted while grocery shopping, sitting in one’s apartment, holding bible study, driving, carrying a cell phone, walking, and drinking coffee in a cafe. Just recently here in the Bay Area, Chinedu Okebi, a Nigerian American, was inexplicably tasered to death by law enforcement. We want you to know that black lives and families matter, and that we commit ourselves to protect the fullness of every black person’s life and stop the impunity.
We are deeply troubled gunman in Pittsburgh, who echoed the maligning tweets of the President, inaccurately blaming Jewish organizations, like HIAS, for initiating the Central American Migrant Caravan. This “Great Caravan of Dignity,” as asylum-seekers from Honduras call it, has root causes that our interfaith delegations have spent years investigating.
This year Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity along with Freedom for Immigrants and formerly detained individuals worked to create a report on the conditions at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, California. This report was created to draw light to the horrific conditions of isolation and encourage that the facility be closely monitored for inhumane treatment.
For the past 7 years Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity has been visiting the detention facility and hosting vigils outside the walls to remind those detained that we are with them. Through these vigils we have met with many family members of the detained and worked on their release.
In July 2018, Contra Costa Sherriff’s Office decided to end its contract with West County Detention Facility and I.C.E. after reports of human and civil rights violations. Following the termination of this contract the Immigrant Defenders Research Group (IDRG) conducted this participatory research project.
A Message from our Board of Directors-