June 4, 2020

George Floyd – In Memory

A Virgil of candles

I speak to you today as a White woman, as a mother of a White son, as a rabbi.

As one who sees this time in America as a Critical Moral Moment.

As an organization, we join with all other decent, peace-loving and justice- seeking Americans to mourn the death of George Floyd. Today is his funeral. Even in the face of a viral pandemic that has closed down much of human society, even that virus could not keep a Black American citizen, from being killed by those whose job it is to protect us.

Today we mourn George Floyd but let’s not forget the other George Floyds of whom he is but one: Ahmaud Arberry, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Freddy Grey, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King and the list, tragically, goes on.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama called on each one of us to create “a new normal” in which “bigotry and racism no longer infect our institutions and our hearts.”

Let us begin, each of us in our own way, to create that new normal…. To do justly now. To love mercy now… to walk humbly now.

This is not a Black problem. Indeed Black folks, as you have shared with me over the years, are sick and tired of being sick and tired. No this is not a Black or Brown problem. It is a problem that the rest of us need to face or we will be doomed to relive these tragic events over and over again.

In the words from Jewish tradition, “We are not obligated to complete the work. But neither are we free to be bystanders, passively watching.”

The most important question now is: In the face of centuries of racism, what are we going to do? In the face of ongoing white supremacy, What changes are we going to make in our lives?

Let us take this moment of silence to pause and to reflect. May the memory of George Floyd be for blessing and may he rest in peace.

Rabbi Devorah Jacobson