From a Black Jew to you: Why you should care about Black Lives Matter
-Editor’s note: Please note that this article was originally published on June 2, on the website My Jewish Learning.
Over the past few days, I have been debating whether or not to say something regarding the protests, the riots, the murders, all of it. I have been donating and sharing resources with my peers, which surely counts for something. However, I have some sentiments I feel the need to express that simply won’t fit on my Instagram story or in a text.
I feel so scared, and I have been realizing over the course of my 20-something years on this earth that most of the fear I experience is learned. From hearing about my peers being stopped by the police in their own, majority-white communities to the murder of Trayvon Martin, racism, discrimination and bias have been at the forefront of my existence. And the fact of the matter is, what I struggle with does not compare to the experiences of many of my other brothers and sisters. Because I am mixed, I am privileged. Because I am educated, I am privileged. I know just how to change my posture and my manner of speaking so white people take me seriously. And it's a damn shame that I had to learn how to make these changes. I should not have to alter my character and my being for anyone, let alone the people that have oppressed my Black, Jewish and queer ancestors for centuries.
I am numb with rage. At the cops who continue to murder my people in cold blood with little to no consequences. At the people who dare come to their defense when it is the police who are instigating violence at peaceful protests, when it is the police who are shooting and macing anyone in their path and it is the police who are protecting the trigger-happy officers killing Black and brown people without a second thought.
I am honoring the Black, brown and native bodies sacrificed so that white people could build and rule this nation. I am honoring the Black and queer communities for fighting for the liberties I have been blessed with as a queer woman of color. I ask that you do the same, no matter how you identify.
White people, your friends of color are struggling right now. We are in pain. Check in on us. But before you do, I would like to make a few suggestions.
Some phrases we would appreciate hearing:
- I do not understand what you are going through, but I stand with you.
- I am reserving space to listen to you.
- How can I support you and how can I support my community?
Some phrases that we do not appreciate:
- I feel your pain (chances are, you definitely don't)
- Are you okay? (our people are bleeding in the streets, so the answer is no)
This list is not to shame the people who may have used a less than ideal way to show love to their peers. It is a call to those who are silent. To the people who are saying nothing right now — not sharing resources, not donating, not protesting: we see you. And we will remember this the next time you ask for our support.
Some ways you can help:
- Donate to bail out funds such as Reclaim the Block, if you are able.
- Share resources for safe protesting.
- Share other resources that support the movement. This does not mean tagging us in your performative woke posts. This means sharing information that actually contributes.
- Support Black writers and artists.
- Be there for us. This is not about you. Please respect that.
Thank you for listening. Black Lives Matter.