Shabbat shalom. In Judaism, a phrase of comfort often shared with mourners contains the grains of hope: may their memory be a blessing.
I carried this phrase with me this evening as I walked alongside my friends and community members. Pushed to a parking lot to start, we stood in silence for 8 minutes and 49 seconds, then we walked down the street and gathered around the “Hall of Justice.” Speakers from the steps of the police station started the difficult conversation. We often hear a lot of calls from people to have difficult conversations but no one seems to actually have them. Today I watched with pride as a fifteen year-old stood in front of her community and advised us on how to speak to someone we disagree with; a young woman advocating for real, productive conversations. She was followed by another woman with calls for change with specific proposals. As we carry the memories of those murdered into real productive change, I pray, may their memory be a blessing.
Today Breonna Taylor would turn 27 years old if she hadn’t been murdered in her own home by officers serving a “no knock warrant” in the middle of the night for a man who did not live in her home. Her bedroom riddled with bullets and the man who killed her walking free, all charges dropped. How do you live with such a loss? Her family carries memories of a fun-loving, game-playing, young woman with so much promise as they fight for justice– not just for Breonna, but for everyone. We demand no more no knock warrants. May her memory be a blessing.
George Floyd is remembered as a gentle giant and a pillar of his community. Looking at his portrait, I can almost hear his laugh. That is how I want to hold him in my memory–not pleading for his mom while being murdered on a public street. But it was those pleas that bring us all together now. We heard George Floyd call out and we gather now carrying his memory in our broken hearts. We demand justice for Floyd and others. May his memory be a blessing.
I am proud of my community and hopeful that today was the start of productive change. I hope that we can write laws to ensure officers are held accountable. I hope that we can invest more money and time in our communities. I am not exactly in the position to make donations, but I can make phone calls. I can listen and learn. I can have conversations with my family. And I can show up. May their memories be a blessing.