Shabbat reflections on Ahmaud Arbery (if you’re not on our mailing list, sign up at staging.zioness.flywheelsites.com)
It’s been an exceedingly difficult week. Tens of thousands more Americans have died from COVID19, with 25,696 new cases diagnosed yesterday alone; millions of Americans are out of work and struggling immensely, while some states are opening up in ways that are dangerous for vulnerable populations; we remain physically distant and isolated from our loved ones, including our beloved moms, as Mother’s Day approaches this Sunday; and we learned about the senseless and devastating murder of Ahmaud Arbery for the crime of being a black man in Georgia.
We are deeply distraught––but not shocked––that a black man was lynched in broad daylight, by a former law enforcement officer, while going on a jog. We are appalled––but not surprised–– that it took three months and a national campaign by the Arbery family to even see charges brought against the murderers of their beautiful son and brother––despite horrifying video evidence having been brought to the authorities long before we, the public, saw it.
We are sickened to our core that this is the reality still faced by black Americans, 60 years after the Civil Rights Movement, in a country that claims to exemplify freedom. While the refrain #BlackLivesMatter has become a part of our lexicon, we should all pause to reflect on how outrageous it is that when our black siblings ask for the simple recognition of their dignity and humanity, so many in this country fight back; that while heavily armed White men can occupy a statehouse to protest lifesaving stay-at-home orders, unarmed black men can’t go out for their morning jog without literally risking their lives.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us that “[i]n the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” At the 1963 March on Washington, standing next to him, the great Zionist leader Rabbi Joachim Prinz echoed his sentiment, saying that when he was a rabbi in Berlin under Hitler, he “learned many things. The most important…was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”
Their reminders, unfortunately, are as urgent and relevant in our generation as they were then. Many of us do not face racist violence because of our skin color, and will never know the trauma, pain, and intense fear of black and brown Americans who must go out into this world with a lethal target on their backs. Some of us, and many of our loved ones, do know this pain. But for all of us: silence is not an option. Our commitment to fighting oppression, injustice and white supremacy––the threat against which all human beings committed to justice and equality must be united––calls us to action.
Today, on Ahmaud’s 26th birthday, Zioness encourages you to take these actions for Ahmaud and to advance racial justice in our broken country:
Contact Georgia prosecutor Tom Durden to demand accountability and justice––and remind him that an arrest is only step one. His phone number is 912-876-4151.
Demand that your elected representatives prioritize racial equity in the next coronavirus relief bill, as communities of color are hardest hit by the virus, by contacting your Member of Congress and your Senator
Post on social media so that everyone in your circle knows what happened, and that now is the time for action, using the hashtag #JusticeforAhmaud
Take a 2.23 mile nighttime run tonight with Ahmaud (2/23 being the date of his murder), or continue to run with Ahmaud all weekend, and tell the world #irunwithMaud on all your social media platforms
Sign and share this petition demanding that the two district attorneys who mismanaged Ahmaud’s case resign, so that they can never stand in the way of justice again
We are wishing you a weekend of health and serenity, and we hope that next week will be a better week. We also want to take this moment to wish all the Zioness moms a Happy Mother’s Day. We love you, we miss you, and we thank you profoundly for showing us the way and instilling our Zioness values in us. Please feel free to share the below Zioness cards with your mom, or on social media. And for those who don’t have the luxury of celebrating either in person or via technology with their moms this year, we see you, and we send you our love.
We’re also announcing two new “social differencing” webinars: one with superhero Zioness Helene Krasnoff, Vice President for Public Policy Litigation & Law at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and one with the iconic Hagannah sniper who became a world renowned sex therapist, Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, who will be interviewed by her granddaughter, Leora Einleger, Zioness Programs Manager.