USY’s Statement on the Murder of George Floyd

Written by the 2020 USY International Executive Board and originally posted to Facebook on June 1, 2020

This weekend the Jewish community celebrated Shavuot, the day on which we received the Torah, our book of Law. Our celebration and learning was juxtaposed with national outrage at the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer. We ended the holiday, as well as Shabbat, as we always do, by thanking God for separating “bein kodesh l’chol”, the holy from the typical. From our “normal.” This blessing takes on new meaning now, as we are forced to recognize that the “normal” that we return to is one that devalues the lives of People of Color — particularly people in the Black community.

We return to a “normal” where George Floyd was murdered before our eyes as three officers of the law watched and did nothing. We return to a “normal” where Ahmaud Arbery was shot for the crime of being a Black man jogging in a white neighborhood. We return to a “normal” where Breonna Taylor was killed for being a Black woman in her own home. We return to a “normal” where the systemic racism held up by our country’s rule of law allows so many of our Black siblings to be killed without a hint of justice.

Today, USY commits to doing the work necessary to create a world that we can be proud to live in. One that values the lives of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, and so many others. We commit to working with our chapters and regions to provide aid to protesters and those seeking justice in our society. We encourage all of our community members to take action — peacefully protest, call your representatives, donate to grassroots organizations — whatever form is meaningful to you. We acknowledge that it may feel uncomfortable to take action and to speak “unpopular truths,” but we must not let words on social media be the only thing we do. We must educate ourselves and begin to address the racism in our own communities and inner circles. We stand and march with the Black community today, and every day moving forward, and we commit to working towards this hopeful, holy future together.

We say today, and every day, Black Lives Matter.