As Jewish teenagers, we are taught to stand up for what we believe is right and repair the world through tikkun olam and actions of kindness. We have been taught that it is not okay to stand idly by as our neighbors are hurting. After the murder of George Floyd, many of us have felt called to action as we look for ways to support the Black community while they protest against police brutality.
For Black people in America, these murders are not a new phenomenon. The systematic racism of the Jim Crow laws was designed to strip Black people of their rights and dehumanize them for one hundred years after they were emancipated from slavery and were treated as property. The justice system in America has been designed to suspect Black peoples of crimes that they haven’t committed and has allowed many police officers to escape unharmed and without jail time after these types of events.
As Americans continue to exercise their first amendment rights, the President has deployed the military and allowed cops to shoot protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and real guns, if necessary. Innocent Black people have been killed in these protests for again, doing nothing, like David McAtee, who was murdered by police in Louisville, Kentucky.
As white people and Jewish teenagers, we can no longer stand silently by as Black people are ruthlessly killed by cops every single day. We all need to do our part to not only unlearn our racism but learn how to be actively anti-racist. Until this county learns how to give Black lives the same rights and equality as everyone else, we will not be free. Until America learns that Black lives do matter, all lives will not matter.
We must support and stand with the black community right now. We must donate, sign petitions, call our legislators, and protest if you can until the system of police brutality is no longer in place in this country. For those that want to help the Black community right now, below is a list of links and organizations to donate to, places to call, and how you can get involved from your home.
One of the easiest ways to get involved is to sign online petitions regarding the murder of George Floyd and others. A petition on change.org asking the Minneapolis mayor for justice for George Floyd has now become the most signed petition in history. Other petitions include asking for justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and David McAtee, all innocent Black people who were killed by police or former police.
Another way to get involved and directly support different organizations is by donating money. Different foundations such as Reclaim the Block, which aims to have the local Minneapolis government stop investing so much in policing and instead invest it in other alternatives, and the National Bail Out, which seeks to end the system of mass incarceration and reunite families separated by jail, is helpful in bailing out protesters unlawfully arrested or innocent people who have been incarcerated. You can also directly donate to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Calling the Minneapolis District Attorney’s office or the Minneapolis Mayor’s office is also extremely helpful in getting justice for George Floyd. Their numbers are 612-348-5550, and 612-673-2100, respectively. You can also text “JUSTICE” to 668366 or “FLOYD” to 55156 to sign petitions.
In addition, as white people, we also need to not only educate ourselves on our privilege but continue learning about how we can be allies with the Black community. Books such as How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo are great places to begin reading about white privilege in the United States. There are also countless documentaries to watch including “13th” on Netflix and “I Am Not Your Negro” on Youtube that can be used to further educate ourselves.
We must support and stand with the black community right now. We must donate, sign petitions, call our legislators and protest until the system of police brutality is no longer in place in this country. Until we do so, until we learn how to stand up with the Black community, Black lives will not matter. And Black lives, the Black people of the United States do matter and should no longer be subject to the systemic racism and violent injustice they have been for far too long.