Written by Leora, a Bonimot Tzedek participant going into 9th grade!
Bonimot Tzedek is a group of 9-12th graders who care deeply about social justice. You can tell even through Zoom that we want to make a difference in our community. We, as Jewish teens, are determined to make the world into a place we will feel proud to inherit.
In Bonimot Tzedek meetings, we have been learning a lot. We delved into racial inequality and inequity, and the origins in which certain racial stereotypes and police profiling came to be. We have looked into mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and how that has helped shape the current police and justice system. More recently, we have looked at discrepancies in the Montgomery County budget between the police and other departments, such as school health, permanent housing for the homeless, and the environment. We explored the phrase “defunding the police” and really started to understand what it meant. After looking at data, many of us were surprised to learn the police’s budget has more than five times what other departments have, and realized how much of that money could be reallocated to departments and services in need.
The police aren’t trained for many of their responsibilities; we feel that re-investing portions of their budget (even just half!) could really help more people in need and create positive change!
This week, we split into two focus groups to start taking action! One focus group is centered on Covid-19 outbreaks in ICE detention centers. There was a big outbreak in a center in Virginia, and this group is looking for ways that we, as a local community, can help. The other focus group is concentrated on defunding the police.
This summer, we plan to host phone banks, spread petitions, and more to get the word out about these two pressing issues, in hopes of bringing about some much needed real change. Bonimot Tzedek is truly building justice in our community.