“I can’t breathe,” three painful words seared into the memory of New Yorkers as Eric Garner pleaded for his life six years ago, were repeated last week in Minneapolis. The callousness and cruelty demonstrated by the murder of George Floyd lays bare the persistent dehumanization of Black lives in America – where a police officer casually kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, long after his body lay motionless. Mr. Floyd is just another example, along with Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and so many others, in a series of Black Americans irrationally killed by law enforcement or by those emboldened by stand your ground laws.
Whether birdwatching in a park, jogging, or simply sleeping at home, it is made clear time and again that a broken system alongside skewed societal norms advance and protect one segment of the population over the other. Our tradition encourages us to stand against injustice and to support the weak, help the oppressed, and spread peace. As a community, we should take this time to consider how our actions may contribute and further these systemic failures and empower those within our communities whose voices are often not given space.
MuBANY grieves for all the lives needlessly lost and stands with those seeking systemic change both within and outside our communities to eradicate the blight of white supremacy, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia from our institutions and hearts. We will seek opportunities to support those working towards justice and peace and we welcome any thoughts on achieving this goal from our membership.