“Your struggle is our struggle” – panel call for renewed anti-racist solidarity

The urgent need for renewed anti-racist solidarity and alliance between the Jewish and black community was discussed at yesterday’s virtual Black Lives Matter Everywhere panel, co-hosted by JCORE and JW3 and chaired by JCORE Executive Director Dr Edie Friedman.

Attended by over 3,000 people, the panel featured the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable’s Racial Justice Director April Baskin, journalist and campaigner Nadine Batchelor-Hunt, founder of Operation Black Vote, Sir Simon Woolley, and Labour MP and Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy.

The shared history of struggle, and proud background of solidarity between black and Jewish communities was highlighted by David Lammy MP, who urged the audience to invoke this spirit again today. With anti-racism in the UK increasingly atomized, he also challenged activists to move forward and re-create a broader umbrella coalition.

This call was passionately reflected by Sir Simon Woolley, who urged the audience to stand up and be leaders in demanding racial justice, and to seize the opportunity to fundamentally rebuild society post-Covid-19. Sir Simon and David Lammy both highlighted the importance of viewing the fight against racism as a shared struggle – and that allies outside of the black community must help shoulder this burden.

The necessity for communities to stand together in solidarity against all forms of racism and oppression was emphasised by Nadine Batchelor-Hunt, who highlighted the challenge of being a “minority within a minority” as a black Jew. Batchelor-Hunt stressed that to challenge racism, the Jewish community must also look inwards, and take action to listen and give greater support to Jews of Colour.

This sentiment was reflected by April Baskin, who powerfully reminded the audience that as Jews, we ourselves are members of a multi-racial community with a global diaspora, and that to reach racial justice within our community, Jews must ensure that our values are lived through our actions.

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director at the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said: “We were delighted that this panel brought together so many people, for the opening of this critical conversation. It is vital that we continue this momentum – the key test for our community now is to ensure that this is the start of a longer discussion, which must be reflected in action.

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare stark inequalities and deep injustices within our society. After coronavirus, we cannot allow things to continue as they were before. As a community, we must revive our proud history of shared struggle, and amplify our voice to government to be allies in calls for tangible and long-lasting change. We must also start the difficult task of looking critically at ourselves, and raise our game to ensure that we stand against racism and hatred wherever we see it, both inside and outside our community, knowing that racial justice benefits all of society.”

A recording of the event is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjTKCbkEBKY&feature=youtu.be