Bend the Arc: Southern California volunteers are organizing for justice at the local, state, and federal levels.
We're transforming the criminal legal system in CA
The mission of the Restorative Justice Committee of Bend the Arc of Southern California is to develop and promote restorative justice as the cornerstone of the criminal legal system. While operating within the Jewish tradition, we find common ground and collaborate with people from all backgrounds and traditions. We pursue the transformation of our criminal legal system away from a brutal, punitive, retributive system, that is cruel and unequal at every stage, toward one that is centered on care instead of cages, where communities have the resources they need to thrive, where all neighborhoods are safe and free, where the rights of every person to equal justice is guaranteed, where those in power are bound by the rule of law and held fully accountable, where justice meets mercy, and where every person is seen, heard, and valued.
Our work is guiding by fundamental Jewish values, principles, and teachings:
- B’tselem elohim is our belief that all people possess dignity and humanity; that no person shall be judged by the worst thing they have done; and that we will not leave anyone behind.
T’shuvah represents return, accountability, and restoration, which are at the core of what we do - restorative justice - to bring those who may have strayed back into the beloved community, where they can heal and thrive.
- Tzedakah is our essential obligation to seek justice, righteousness, and fairness.
How we do this work:
- We believe in the power of organizing and mobilizing to make change. We do this work in deep relationship and in coalition with other organizations and grassroots leaders to advance policy and systems change. We will engage elected officials, lifting them up when they are aligned with our values and calling them to account when they are not.
- We strive to bring humility to our work; to be in proximity in spaces where Jews are not expected to show up to help push for change and make space for others, elevating and centering the experience and wisdom of directly impacted communities. We seek the experience and guidance of directly impacted communities.
- We practice patience knowing that transformative, bold, and lasting change is a long game, which we will pursue steadfastly, day by day, to help reach our highest aspirational goals.
- We bring to our work and our relationships with each other the same high standards of respect, fairness, thoughtfulness, and care that we seek to foster in society at large and the criminal legal system in particular.
We're standing in solidarity with immigrant communities
When Trump was elected, our chapter members promised to stand in solidarity with the communities most impacted by his hateful agenda.
Last Spring, our chapter members phone banked, lobbied our legislators, and rallied in the streets to help pass the California Values Act, the strongest statewide sanctuary legislation in the country to help protect California's immigrants from Trump's deportation force.
We're also part of Bend the Arc Jewish Action's national Jewish Campaign for Dreamers. We're advocating for a clean Dream Act by mobilizing phone calls to key legislators and taking action in the street. In January, our members joined Let My People Stay, a historic Jewish civil disobedience in our nation's Capitol to demand Congress' action to protect Dreamers.
We're working to end homelessness in LA
Our members are committed to making our own city live up to our vision of a Los Angeles where everyone experiences safety and dignity.
It's why we've campaigned for more than two years to expand funding to help end homelessness in LA. We organized to help win ballot initiatives like measures JJJ and HHH, and legislation like Los Angeles' new citywide linkage fee, which are helping to create new sources of funding for affordable housing.