Tag : black lives matter

July 27, 2020 by

Who Shall Die…

Friday would’ve been the 65th birthday of my first wife and her yahrzeit is this week. As I thought about the beauty of her laugh and the pain of her end, so different from those on whose behalf we cry out, the words of the Unetaneh Tokef—a prayer that inspires fear and awe during the High Holidays—came to me.

Both the Unetaneh Tokef and the impact of this list of killings of Black Americans (compiled by an unknown community member) inspired “Unetaneh Tofek for Black Lives”.

Each day we hazard our Black lives in the Court of the White World

We know our worth

Yet the white world is judge-self-appointed

We pass before you to be counted

12.5 million bodies stolen

1.8 million mercifully avoided your shores

Stolen shores, stolen land

10.7 million arrived unsafely

…times 401 years

…times infinite human indignities

…times ⅗ of a human being

We now number 47.8 million

 

 

In the morning it is written and by curfew it is sealed

Who shall die while jogging (#AhmaudArbery)

Who shall die while relaxing in the comfort of their home (#BothamJean #AtatianaJefferson)

Who shall die while seeking help after a car crash (#JonathanFerrell #RenishaMcBride).

Who shall die while holding a cellphone (#StephonClark).

Who shall die while decorating for a party (#ClaudeReese).

Who shall die while leaving a party (#JordanEdwards #SeanBell)

 Who shall die while enjoying music (#JordanDavis).

Who shall die while selling music…trying to make a way outta no way (#AltonSterling).

 

Who shall die while sleeping (#AiyanaJones)

Who shall die while worshipping the Lord (#Charleston9).

 

Who shall die for a traffic violation (#SandraBland).

Who shall die while coming from the store (#MikeBrown and #TrayvonMartin).

 

Who shall die while playing cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

Who shall die while lawfully carrying a weapon (#PhilandoCastile, #FreddieGray).

Who shall die while on the shoulder of the road with car problems (#CoreyJones #TerrenceCrutcher).

Who shall die in the first hours of the new year (#OscarGrant)

Who shall die while shopping at Walmart (#JohnCrawford).

Who shall die while cashing a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

 

Who shall die while reading a book in their own car (#KeithScott).

Who shall die while taking a walk with their stepfather (#CliffordGlover).

 

Who shall die while reaching for their wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

Who shall die while running away (#WalterScott).

 

Who shall die while asking a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

Who shall die while begging for their life, their breath (#EricGarner #GeorgeFloyd).

 

Who shall die by the effects of supremacy, greed, and apathy

…who by beast, indeed

 

“But repentance, prayer and charity temper judgment’s severe decree”

“But repentance, prayer and charity avert judgment’s severe decree?”

But turningconnection and giving, these return us to our Gd?

Whose repentance? Whose prayer? Whose charity?

Temper, please temper

Temper already! Temper… 

For sins against God, the Day of Atonement brings forgiveness; for sins against one’s fellowman, the Day of Atonement brings no forgiveness till he has become reconciled with the fellowman he wronged. (Mishnah Yoma 8:9)

“The Day of Atonement brings no forgiveness 

till he has become reconciled with the fellowman he wronged.”

When will you atone? How will you atone?

 

For you, like us, will be judged.

You, like us, will return to dust.

 


 

Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman is one of the co-founders of Romney Associates, Inc. She has more than 25 years of experience organizing, educating, and developing curriculum for social justice. Her writing about racial intimacy and anti-racism at her Brooklyn synagogue can be found in the chapter she co-authored in UnCommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race and Friendship (Peter Lang). 

Continue Reading

  • No Comments
  •  

July 27, 2020 by

Susan Weidman Schneider: “Be the solution.”

I was part of an audience in the 1960s hearing Black Power advocate Stokely Carmichael declare that “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” an accusation that originated apparently as part of an advertising campaign for VISTA, a domestic iteration of the Peace Corp. The sentence scared me. I—I—was part of a problem? Then, by degrees, I recognized how I was wired (like so many of you reading this) to not stand idly by. The myriad problems that we all, every one of us, affect and are affected by—racism, grotesque economic inequities which lead to disease and hunger, gender and age prejudice, confiscated opportunities, anti-Semitism—these are some of the very large problems we all need to solve. Starting now, as the cover of this issue states, and moving into the next—and undoubtedly difficult—phases of our lives together.

From the magazine’s inception, Lilith has described itself and its readers on an identity grid, “at the intersection of feminism and Jewish life.” But each of us contains multitudes, and no single point can map a life. We all have many identifiers. Jewish lesbian feminist math teacher. Black Jewish feminist lawyer. Mexican-born genderqueer feminist Jewish artist; Canadian Jewish feminist mother of two mixed-race boys. Since its inception, one of the magazine’s goals has been to provide safe space for our different identities to find expression, feel valued, be heard— mainstream voices along with those of women (and women-identified people) not accustomed to being on center stage.

And yet, though Lilith has always welcomed diverse cadres of writers and artists, we want to make sure we’re opening our doors wide enough. Lilith’s archives (online at Lilith.org and IRL at Brandeis University) provide examples of Lilith’s early and consistent centering of women heretofore on the margins. Reporting by LGBTQ Jews and by the daughters of Holocaust survivors; memoirs by Persian Jews, women with disabilities, poor Jews; investigations into sexism and anti-Semitism and abuse by rabbis and pediatricians, fathers and strangers.

None of these experiences prepared us adequately, as citizens and editors, readers and writers, as Jews and as women, for the concatenation of assaults we’re now experiencing. The pandemic, the confrontations with racism, the venality of government, the helplessness of so many of the governed, the terror of an empty stomach, empty bank account, empty hopes.

As we prepare ourselves and others for the upcoming High Holidays, which this year may be unlike any other in living memory, indelibly altered by the need to protect ourselves from one another rather than seeking community in one another’s company, I hope you’ll find some wisdom in the “Now. Next.” pages you’re about to open. May we be guided wisely by our own experiences and intuition, by new and seasoned teachers, and by ancient wisdom about how important it is to engage. Bear witness, step into the fray when you know you need to, vote your conscience, be the solution—and the change—you want to see.

There are problems to be solved, and we’ve got to plan for their just solutions, together.

 

Susan Weidman Schneider

Editor in Chief

susanws@lilith.org

Continue Reading

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

June 9, 2020 by

Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives

Friday would’ve been the 65th birthday of my first wife and her yahrzeit is this week. As I thought about the beauty of her laugh and the pain of her end, so different from those on whose behalf we cry out, the words of the Unetaneh Tokef—a prayer that inspires fear and awe during the High Holidays—came to me.

Both the Unetaneh Tokef and the impact of this list of killings of Black Americans (compiled by an unknown community member) inspired “Unetaneh Tofek for Black Lives”.

Each day we hazard our Black lives in the Court of the White World

We know our worth

Yet the white world is judge-self-appointed

We pass before you to be counted

12.5 million bodies stolen

1.8 million mercifully avoided your shores

Stolen shores, stolen land

10.7 million arrived unsafely

…times 401 years

…times infinite human indignities

…times ⅗ of a human being

We now number 47.8 million

(more…)

Continue Reading

  • 1 Comment
  •  

The Lilith Blog

June 9, 2020 by

Where Was the “Peace” 400 Years Ago?

My father is the most peaceful man I know.

A few years ago, he came home from the watch store, and told us that the owner had said to him, “What would people think if they walked in and saw a nigger working here?” after my father had casually said something about becoming his apprentice and learning how to fix watches. In that very moment, I wish my dad hadn’t been the peaceful man that he is.

“… a nigger working here…”

I think about this story frequently. I was so angry at my father for not screaming in the owner’s face, or arguing with him until he had lost his voice. My father had let me down. I wanted him to fight, but I never told him this.

A few weeks ago in an argument, I brought this story up again, and in an instant I finally revealed to my father how I truly felt; how I felt about him walking out the door before an argument could even begin. About how his actions made me lose faith in his ability to defend the color of my skin. As he listened to my concerns, with his legs crossed and his eyes calm but focused, he soaked up the emotion that poured out of his 18-year-old daughter. That day, my father told me that if he had gotten into an argument, he would have been risking his daughters having a future without a father or his sons having to lock the door at night, because they would now be the oldest men in the house. He wanted to fight, but he had to choose.

I thought my father hadn’t fought that day because he gave in. I thought he had let them win, when in reality, he had decided that his life, vows, and the promises that he had made to his wife and children trumped everything. His family was more important than defending the color of his skin, in that rundown watch shop. My father decided to swallow his anger in the face of a man who only saw his Black skin, a man who perceived my father’s brown eyes as more threatening than the small pocket knife dangling from his own jeans.

My father chose us. He chose to come home instead of lying on a rug in a pool of blood, alone, and unable to defend the skin that would be soaked in the very red that is printed on the flag of a country that promised to protect him.

There will be more racist shop owners, there will be more blood, there will be more sons and daughters waiting on the stoop for their fathers who are never coming home.

Who’s gonna raise the kids of the parents who were murdered screaming “George Floyd?” Who’s gonna carry the body of a young Black man who has not even graduated high school yet?

My father is the most peaceful man I know, and I love him for that. But I won’t wait for my brothers to be the next young Black men that “fit the description.” I want to see my 13-year-old brother graduate from middle school.

I want to be peaceful, but where was the peace when my people hung from trees, naked and stripped of their lives?

Where was the peace when Emmett Till was mutilated and murdered at the age of 14? 
Where was the peace when unarmed Breonna Taylor was shot eight times in the comfort of her own home? Where was the peace when two men in a pickup truck chased Ahmaud Arbery, an innocent man, and fired a shotgun into his stomach?

We need more peaceful people like my father, but I won’t wait for his blood to be spilled.

So let me ask you again,
Where was the peace 400 years ago?

—-

Makeda Zabot-Hall is on the editorial board of jGirls Magazine, where this piece was originally published. You can read more of Makeda’s work here

Continue Reading

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

June 4, 2020 by

Black Lives Matter: Read, Learn, and Act

In the wake of this most recent horrific moment of racist violence and white supremacy, the Lilith staff would like to share the articles we’ve been reading and rereading–the organizations we’ve been following, and resources we’ve been turning to.  

We also want to hear from you: what have you been reading, asking, wrestling with, learning from, supporting? Because we’re in this with you- committing to listen, deepen our anti-racism learning & act in solidarity with Black communities, Jews of Color, Indigenous people, & communities of color for racial equity and a just world. 

Read

Watch

Donate

There are so many organizations doing incredible racial justice work. We wanted to highlight the following organizations that are run for and by women of color.

  • Sister Song is a Southern-based organization with a purpose to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.
  • The Loveland Foundation is an organization that provides financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking mental health support.
  • #FreeBlackMamas is an annual campaign by National Bail Out seeking to raise awareness about the human and financial costs of money bail and emphasize its impact on Black mothers and caregivers.

Learn

Act

  • #JusticeforFloyd: Demand the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder is a petition demanding the along with Derek Chauvin, the other three officers be arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. 
  • NAACP: We Are Done Dying is a petition with 4 main demands. These are to arrest the remaining 3 officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, demand appointment of an independent special processor to lead the government’s full and impartial investigation of the murder of George Floyd, demand reinstitution by the Department of Justice of consent decrees on police departments and municipal governments across this country that have demonstrated patterns of racism towards and mistreatment of people of color, and demand for sweeping police reform, including federal legislation mandating a zero-tolerance approach in penalizing and/or prosecuting police officers who kill unarmed, non-violent, and non-resisting individuals in an arrest.
  • Black Lives Matter: #DefundThe Police is a petition that calls for the end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken. They call for a national defunding of police and investment in Black communities.

 

Continue Reading

  • 1 Comment
  •  

The Lilith Blog

May 29, 2020 by

We are Dying Because of the Fears of White People

“I’m not Black, I’m Jamaican.” Following in the tradition of many immigrants and first-generation Black immigrants, that was the tune I sang for most of my adolescent life.  I ran from my Blackness. My mother came to the United States seeking a better life. Until she stepped onto U.S. soil, my mother had never known a country where you could be shot and killed just for existing. 

Continue Reading

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

June 4, 2018 by

This Radical Medical Collective Ministers to Protesters

Almost a decade ago, a group of healthcare activists in Portland, Oregon, formed the Rosehip Medic Collective, with the original intent of providing emergency medical care to people attending progressive political events, protests and direct actions. As part of this work, they’ve offered intensive trainings––a 20-hour immersion in advanced first aid––so that people who either lack the resources to obtain medical attention or who feel unsafe in traditional medical settings might have access to basic information, advocacy, and support.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 3.14.26 PM

The collective’s members—many of them Jewish and most LGBTQ—include Emergency Medical Technicians, registered nurses, wilderness first-responders, herbalists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, and teachers. This diversity of experience has led them to a range of Portland events. Individual members also provide care to people living on the street, to IV drug users in harm-reduction settings, and in free clinics.  And some Collective members were present at the 2017 Standing Rock encampment formed by North Dakota’s native community in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Rosehip Medic Collective member Eva Irwin spoke to Eleanor J. Bader by phone in early May about the group’s work and evolution.

Eleanor J. Bader: Let’s start with some history. How, when, and why did the Collective form?

Eva Irwin: We basically coalesced as a Collective in the aftermath of the Republican and Democratic conventions of 2008. At both conventions, protesters met tremendous repression. The police violence served as a crucible for us as individuals.

From the beginning—we incorporated in 2008—we’ve included people with and without medical certifications and licenses. Early on, we were EMT heavy, and many of us had gone to wilderness first-responder trainings.  Some of us knew a lot about acupuncture and herbs; others were experts in naturopathic medicine. A few of us had been street medics before, with an earlier incarnation of Rosehip called Portland Street Medics, so we came into the Collective with a variety of backgrounds.  

The idea was that we wanted to do action/activist medicine. We understood that many communities have to create their own medical infrastructure, taking care of themselves, because of racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia.  Many of us in the collective have not felt safe accessing conventional emergency medical services (EMS). This led us to do a research project on tried-and-existing alternatives to EMS.  One group we profiled was Hatzolah—a global Jewish volunteer ambulance organization which basically recognized that specific communities with specific needs do not always get their needs met by the larger society. Hatzolah was a response to this, a community-created service to care for community members, broadly speaking.

Continue Reading

  • No Comments
  •