AUGUSTA — Rabbi Erica Asch of Temple Beth El and Pastor Erik Karas of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will walk more than 20 miles through Virginia on Wednesday, Sept. 9, as part of America’s Journey for Justice, an historic 40-day, 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the march aims to mobilize activists and advance a national advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education, according to a news release from Temple Beth El It began on Aug. 1 and will conclude with a rally in Washington on Sept. 16. For more information about the march, visit naacp.org/ajfj.

Asch joins the march as part of an effort by Reform Jews to have rabbis walking every mile of the route in support of equal justice. When she begins her section of the march near Sandy Hill, Virginia, she will receive a Torah that began the journey in Selma. She will carry the Torah for her day of the march and then will pass it along to the next rabbi. “Justice is central to our Jewish faith,” Asch said in the release. “We must act now to work for a more just world that reflects the values we cherish.”

Asch has long been involved in social justice causes. A former rabbinic community organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation, she is currently the rabbi of Temple Beth El and serves on the national leadership team for Rabbis Organizing Rabbis and on the board of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. She and Karas have worked together on several interfaith social justice projects. Karas also has been instrumental in forming the “K-6,” a group of six Episcopal and Lutheran congregations in this region exploring how they can work more closely together. His churches run the Everyday Basics Essentials Pantry and Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank in Augusta.

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