Today’s #FollowFriday highlights the #NoCopAcademy endorsing organization Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago! JVP-Chicago is a chapter of the national organization Jewish Voice for Peace, a movement committed to demanding an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade on Gaza, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes and properties from which they have been displaced from since 1948. We’ve been so honored to work alongside JVP-Chicago in the fight to stop the $95 million dollar cop academy in West Garfield Park! Learn more about their contributing work of JVP-Chicago in the following Q&A!
When did your organization, Jewish Voice For Peace, decide to join the No Cop Academy campaign, and why?
A little over a year ago. We joined the campaign because we support the goal of holding the city accountable to the people who live here. Building a $95 million (minimum) police training academy is not where Chicago needs to put money. We support the demands that $95 million goes to services that the whole city desperately needs, like schools and mental health services & community centers. We need to divest from the police and stop putting city money towards an institution that systematically terrorizes certain communities while claiming to provide safety for others.
How has your organization contributed to the campaign?
JVP-Chicago has been working to mobilize our members around the demands of No Cop Academy. Our members have shown up to protests and city council meetings. Some of our members have also organized and had meetings with their alderpeople, sharing the No Cop Academy report with them, and asking for their support of the campaign. And lots of social media sharing and outreach!
What strategies/tactics/frameworks does your organization bring to the campaign?
JVP is a Palestinian solidarity organization, and as such we understand that our role is to listen to those who are being directly affected by the oppressive systems of Zionism and White Supremacy both abroad and here at home. We understand the connections between the way that Palestinian people are being oppressed, brutalized, displaced and incarcerated and the way that Black and Brown communities here in America are treated and similarly targeted and locked up.
With our Deadly Exchange campaign we are demanding a dis-investment from militarized training of police forces both here and abroad in occupied Palestine. The Israeli military is training Chicago police directly, so our issues are connected. The tactics they share are basically about increasing the capacity of police forces to exercise deadly tactics on a regular basis, including surveillance, limiting communication and mobility of populations, and incarceration. Popular education is a tactic we are using to make sure more people in our community know about these police exchanges and take action against allowing them to happen.
Internally we have ongoing conversations about militarized and racist policing in this city and globally. We are also using our deadly exchange campaign as a way to have conversations with our members about prison and police abolition to deepen our communal understanding of and commitment to those core values of the No Cop Academy campaign.
What has been your organization’s highlight of the campaign?
We have really appreciated the opportunity to be engaged in politics on a very local level. Many of our campaigns are more global, or focused on legislation at the federal and international levels. It has been great to see members dig in to holding their local officials accountable and also having more opportunity to organize locally with each other and members of their communities.
Anything else to add?
We are grateful for the leadership of the young people doing the work for No Cop Academy! Power to the youth! Also visit our page to learn more about our work: https://jvpchicago.org/