Take A Breath For George

george floyd
Take a breath for George, for peace, and a breath for justice.

This Juneteenth is a rare moment for all of us to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all Black lives.

“I implore all of us to take a breath for justice, to take a breath for peace, to take a breath for our country and to take a breath for George.” Benjamin Crump


I hope we are all indeed breathing deeply, always, but especially now. Breath clears the body of toxins; breath renews. The Israelites under Pharaoh could not hear the words of hope offered by Moses because of “kotzer ruah” — shortness of breath (Exodus 6:9). They could not breathe, so they could not hear, so they could not hope. We have a choice. I hope we are appreciating the miracle of breath — how it sustains life, how it brings calm, how it creates spaciousness of spirit, so that each of us can act with compassion and wisdom, with intention and focus.
For all those suffering in this pandemic, and for George Floyd of blessed memory, let us all indeed take a breath for justice, for peace, for our country and for life itself.
Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, St. Paul in a letter to the editor, https://www.startribune.com/

Justice

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere 

In memory of George Floyd:

This is my progressive city, and we are heartbroken. As I write this, it is noisy,  military helicopters are flying around my neighborhood.

Why?? George Floyd was killed just a few miles from my home. Sadly, a broken law enforcement system has been allowed fester. and like the coronavirus it should have been faced head on instead of taking innocent lives. The injustices faced by our black and brown people should not exist in 2020. We need to start with educational injustice, healthcare injustice, air quality injustice, and living wage injustice. As we give tax breaks to the wealthy, we can invest in the future of an important segment of our community.


From an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is what needs to be said:

Tears flowed from my eyes this morning, though I am — or was — the type of man who prided himself on not crying.
What brought tears? I read that with his last conscious breath, George Floyd cried out in anguish for his mother.
Floyd was a large, strong, proud, vibrant and healthy man and yet as death rushed in upon him, he craved only the love of his mother.
His cry pierced my heart. In an instant, I knew that if I were in his place, pushed to the ground and choked by another man’s knee, I too would have called out for my mother.
Does that make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so was Floyd.
As I struggled with his death, I found my heart cracking open and I did the only thing I could think of at the time — I placed Floyd, his family, and his loved ones in my ailing heart and bore witness to his and their pain and suffering.
With my next breath, though, I surprised myself — by placing Derek Chauvin in my heart.
Does this make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so is Chauvin.
I remain outraged that a grown man — an officer of the law no less — could have such a hard and uncaring heart that for seven full minutes he was capable of slowly squeezing the life out of a fellow human being.
But the reality is that my heart, as well, has been hard and uncaring for too long. Thousands of similar deaths have occurred over the span of my five-and-a-half decades and I have looked the other way and barely raised a finger on behalf of justice.
I don’t have all the answers, but until we all soften our hearts and see both Floyd and Chauvin in ourselves — and as ourselves — little meaningful progress will be made.
I can’t bring George Floyd back. And I won’t protect Derek Chauvin from the hard justice that awaits him. I can only begin by changing myself.
I intend to do this by taking the pain, anger, fear, hate and contempt I feel, channeling it through my softening heart and working to transform it into love — the kind of love a mother has for her son, be he saint or sinner — and then strive of behalf of real and lasting justice for the disenfranchised and the downtrodden.” Jack Uldrich, Minneapolis.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

Justice for All

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Does this give some the right to treat others without justice?

The United States was founded on rebellion. Rebellion is what created the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This week I have been to Washington D. C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore visiting historical sites. The United States Capitol was in Philadelphia the first ten years, the 1790s, of its existence while the Washington, D. C. Capitol was being built.  According to the park ranger, protests were a constant thing.  Protesting for the right of women to vote, and protests to end slavery were often at Independence Hall, where at that time the capital was located. The protesters felt the new government was unjust to exclude women and allow slavery.

Independence Hall had many protests at the beginning of the U.S. government.

Now in 2017 we have athletes protesting police violence towards black men. Many feel the behavior of law enforcement toward black people is not acceptable. This is a way athletes can express their opinions to many people.  Unfortunately, in denial of this injustice some have changed the meaning of these protests to be about protesting against the flag and military.

We can’t tell others how they should feel, or what they should think, and we don’t all think and feel alike. In the 1790 some felt the new United States government was unjust. The same is true today, not everyone feels they are treated equally and with justice! Are their complaints justified?  Is there equal treatment for all?  Do we all have the same liberties and rights? What do you think?