A joint statement in support of Pride Month
From the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island and Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, June 6, 2019 —The month of June is observed as Pride Month in memory of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City on June 28, 1969. In that event, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community stood up against a police raid that was designed to intimidate, humiliate and brutalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The police knew that they were protected in their violent actions by a legal system that branded LGBTQ people as criminals. It was the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
As leaders of the Jewish community, we stand with those who defend human rights and civil rights for LGBTQ people. We are proud of our LGBTQ friends for standing up for themselves and for taking pride in their identity. We are reminded of the Israelites who fought for their freedom against Pharaoh. The story of Stonewall in 1969 reminds us of the story of Nachshon, the Israelite who first stepped into the Red Sea toward freedom even while under attack – hoping and taking action for a better world, even at a moment when all seemed lost.
We are honored to celebrate Pride along with members of the LGBTQ community. We are painfully aware that there are still many difficulties for LGBTQ people in our society and are particularly heartbroken by the high rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth and the high rate of violence against them. We pray that all our young people learn the important Jewish values of love, inclusion and acceptance from the celebration of Pride Month. May those feeling vulnerable take courage in the support of allies. We honor everyone who takes a stand for civil rights and for everyone who freely and publicly lives the truth of their lives.