The New Jim Crow Task Force
The Woodstock Jewish Congregation Task Force to End the New Jim Crow has the mission of alerting the Jewish community, within our synagogue and beyond, to the reality of mass incarceration as a new form of racial control in our country, as described and documented in Michelle Alexander’s remarkable book, The New Jim Crow.
We seek to conduct educational and activist programs within WJC; to reach out to other Jewish congregations and organizations; and to participate in a statewide coalition that is beginning to form in Albany.
Our hope is to join and strengthen the public discussion about police stop-and-frisk policies, about the War on Drugs and its discriminatory impact, about how racism functions in a “post-racial” America — and to help change policies within the criminal justice system through dialogue, outreach to people working within that system, and public mobilization.
We also hope to work locally at supporting projects that aim to help people coming out of prison reenter everyday life with resources and security.
We feel called to this work as Jews who are aware of the proud history of Jewish participation in the civil rights movement — and as Jews who hear the call of the prophet Isaiah:
“I created you, and appointed you
This task force grew out of a public educational event for Martin Luther King’s birthday in January, 2013, inspired by Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Rabbi Jonathan and Reverend Modele Clarke, pastor of the New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, both spoke at the event, as well as members of Rev. Clarke’s church who have dealt with the criminal justice system.
In less than a year, we have accomplished a great deal:
Take PartUnless otherwise indicated on our calendar or in our e-mail newsletter, the Task Force meets every first Sunday of the month at 10 AM. For more information or to get involved, contact Chaia Lehrer at firstname.lastname@example.org.