This is the moment to stand up for justice for all and quash systemic racism. Whether you are on the streets protesting, or at home because of Covid19 or other health issues, each one of us can do something.
We all watched George Floyd murdered by the police, his life snuffed out of him, as he lay there saying he couldn’t breathe – as if he was a bug to be squashed.
It is not right, it is not just, and the dignity of every black and brown person needs to be held up and respected.
Truly, this movement needs all of us. Right now.
I’ve listed some resources below, including articles and books from Jews of Color, as well as the general anti-racist movement.
When your grandchildren ask you “what did you do” during this moment in history when the main conversation was about racism, what will you say?
I have a lot to learn. I invite you to be brave enough to look at your own self, too, and commit to being part of the solution.
The most primary Jewish value is that we are, each one, created in the image of the Divine (Gen. 1:27.)
When a single soul is killed by another, it is as if an entire world was destroyed. Every soul that has been saved by another, it is as if an entire world has been redeemed (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4).
Each one of us is worthy, by virtue of being born.
Each soul is precious.
My teacher, Rabbi Rachel Adler writes that this passage calls us to recognize:
— All humans are each other’s kin.
— All human lives are equally valuable
— All human beings are unique
— Every human being is infinite and uncountable.
Ending Racism: It is Far Past Time
People of color deserve to be treated as sacred souls. Police brutality must cease. There are ways to police communities that respect dignity. See the #8CantWait website below.
Systemic racism pervades our society and undergirds the actions that led to the murder of Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and so many more.
If you are one of those parents, as I am, who never had to give her sons the “talk” about surviving in American society while being black, it is up to us to do all we can to speak out, stand up, and be part of changing this reality.
Here are some specific actions you can take to make sure that you, your family, and your community demand equal justice for all. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s a start.
Please have the courage to look inward, examine your own beliefs, and work with others for a just society that lives up to our national and religious ideals.
The Black Jews Are Tired by Chris Harrison
Believe Us: Black Jews Respond to the George Floyd Protests, In Their Own Words, by April Baskin, Ginna Green, Yitz Jordan, Gulienne Roshon, Isaiah Rothstein, Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, Tema Smith, Enzi Tanner and Evan Traylor.
What We In The Black Community Need From Jews Right Now by Anthony Johnson
The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl by Marra Gad
Want to Be An Anti-Racist? Here’s How by Crooked Media
Demand police reform in your own city. Get your mayor to enact these 8 policies that are proven to decrease police violence by 72%. #8CantWait
VOTE VOTE VOTE. Get your absentee ballot here so you can vote by mail. It is essential.
My friend and colleague Rabbi Joel Simonds, of the Jewish Center for Justice, writes this and I could not have said it better:
We didn’t get here because of one moment and we are not going to leave here because of one moment. We must awake from our slumber and open our eyes to the systemic racism that has existed all along and to the very system that has benefited many of us all along. And so too must we awaken the fabric and soul of this country to the systemic change that can and must come from this moment. We all want the quick change, we all want to know what we can do now. We need to settle in and get comfortably uncomfortable because this is going to take time.
Many blessings to you as we fight this fight. This IS the time. Do the hard work.