In the midst of a brand-new, deadly global crisis, our country has erupted in reaction to a centuries-old, deadly American crisis. The barbaric murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd bring us to our knees not because they are new crises like the coronavirus, but because they are so timeworn. And for many of us, we also recognize in ourselves the response of Amy Cooper in her interaction with the bird watcher Chris Cooper and what could have been another tragic death. We have work to do.
As the Asheville Jewish Community, we stand in solidarity with those expressing their grief, shock, and sorrow over these killings and the widespread racism in our society. We stand in solidarity because of our beliefs in the fundamental equality, worth, and dignity of every human being. We stand in solidarity because our commitment to Tikkun Olam demands it. But we also ask the members of the Asheville Jewish Community to do more than stand in solidarity.
As our mountain home enters into a State of Emergency and curfew tonight, we hope you will consider the ways you can bear witness to rebuild peace and justice within our community. Here are a few places to start:
- Read and educate yourselves on issues of racial justice. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has a great list here. The Forward also put out an article on what the black community needs from Jews right now that is another great place to start.
- Watch a video such as this panel which was conducted at the Marlene Meyerson JCC shortly after the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue and demonstrates the intersectionality of oppressions or listen to Trevor Noah connect the dots between Amy Cooper and George Floyd.
- Donate to support organizations working to address the widespread racism in America like the NAACP Legal and Education Fund and locally to CoThinkk, an organization that provides grant funding for WNC leaders of color.
We do this in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd along with all African Americans who have died at the hands of racism and white supremacy in the 400 year history of these United States. May their memories be for a blessing.
Asheville Jewish Community Center
Carolina Jews for Justice
Center for Jewish Studies
Congregation Beth Israel
Congregation Beth HaTephila
Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Family Services of WNC
Jewish Secular Community of Asheville