Kneeling for Justice

May 31, 2020

Rabbi and son kneeling for justiceIt is Sunday morning. I woke up early today, unable to sleep, my mind replaying the horrifying image of George Floyd’s final minutes of life. I feel compelled to write to you this morning to express my rage, my heartbreak, my helplessness–yet again–as I sit from my place of white privilege and watch as yet another black person’s murder is captured on a cellphone for all the world to see. “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it,” Governor Tim Walz said. Thank God indeed. And yet, my God, when will this stop?

I write even though I don’t know what to say. We have so much to learn, especially those of us in our congregation who have the privilege of walking through the world with white skin. Our country is on fire with protests, even as COVID19 continues to take lives every day, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown people. I am speechless beyond crying out. I don’t know how to fight the systemic racism upon which our country was built, or how to use my white privilege to heal even one tiny piece of this land, and so I pray and write to say at the very least that I stand as a witness to this injustice. I commit to conversations with my white sons about the glaring inequality and violence in our country. We see you, black America. You are not alone. Black Lives Matter.

I would like to share a few resources for those of you who might be looking for ways to learn or engage more in response to this time in our history. The URJ came out with a statement on Friday that is worth reading. As always, they lead the way in the Jewish world in responding with eloquence and conviction to hatred and violence:

For those of you who have 18 minutes to watch something thoughtful and powerful, here is Trevor Noah’s response as well. It does have some curse words for those of you who might be inclined to watch with children:

Lastly, there are lots of resources out there, so here is just one article from KQED that outlines a few ways to be a racial justice ally:

May God’s grace and protection shelter us all,

Rabbi Chabon