Jewish Atlanta will not stand idly by
Jewish tradition commands us: “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16). American communities have been witness to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. These crimes, in the name of law enforcement, by police and citizens, are horrific. These slayings are part of a pattern of systemic violence against Black Americans that cannot continue. We cannot stand idly by these and countless other transgressions against our Black brothers and sisters.
Police brutality against Black Americans is the most visible manifestation of institutional racism. The disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on African American communities is another painful reminder of the systemic racism that has segregated our cities and denied wealth and opportunity to the most vulnerable in our country. Misguided and immoral public policy that preferences white Americans over people of color and contributes to ongoing inequities must come to a swift end.
The history of Black-Jewish solidarity during the Civil Rights movement provides us with a valuable guide for renewing our fight for justice and equity. Our tradition compels us to actively fight racism and systemic injustice. As our sages taught, “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.” Segments of our community have been active in this fight, and the entire Jewish community is called to re-engage in this effort.
“We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself,” said Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts.” Let us channel the fear and anger of this moment into real change.
View ways to take action through advocacy and education below.