For Hanukkah this year, they are asking for justice.
The Arab American Center and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice activist groups gathered outside Barclays Center on Tuesday, the first night of the Festival of Lights, to protest the grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of black men in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri. The jointly organized vigil was meant to show unity among New York Jews and Arabs, and solidarity with all people they see as over-policed and under-protected by the law.
“We wanted to make sure that New York City knows that the Arab American Association stands with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice,” said Cris Hilo, a youth organizer with the Bay Ridge Arab-rights group. “We wanted to raise awareness about police accountability and injustices in communities of color.”
Demonstrators walked in the light rain carrying cardboard flames bearing the names of people who police killed, including in an armed confrontation, and who died in police custody.
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann of the group Kolot Chayeinu–Voices of Our Lives led the lighting of a menorah to mark the Jewish holiday, according to organizers.
“I am glad to join on this special night with our Arab and Muslim colleagues, as we work together in this important and growing movement,” Lippmann said in a statement. “Black lives matter, and must matter, so that we can move from mourning unjust deaths to celebrating just lives.”
The protesters then marched to the 78th Precinct station house and read a list of the names of the dead, according to organizers.