This morning I attended a “virtual assembly” in the library of Boulder High School in solidarity and support of students, faculty and parents following a horrible and hateful racisit threat targeting African American students. This is the end of a week that many around the world have marked as a time to remember the vicitms of the unspeakable genocide that we know as the Holocaust. In memory of those lives that were brutally murdered, we often say and hear the mantra “never again!” For this to have any meaning, we have to stand up against any incitement to hatred or violence anywhere and especially when it is in our own community.
In the “virtual assembly” at Boulder High, an African American mother, Onye Ozuzu gave a very powerful message to the school community. She passionately reminded us of our obligation to ensure our safety and the safety of the person sitting next to us and the person sitting next to them, regardless of whether we like them or trust them. That is the essesnce of our commitment to be in community and to each play our part in ensuring a future of “never again.” There is no greater testimony to the memory of those who were lost in the Shoah and no greater honor to the survivors. It is too easy in our Boulder utopia to think that there is no possibility of hate crimes in our community. Sadly, this is not true and we cannot afford such complacency. ADL and other partners in the community have designated Boulder as “no place for hate” and that is not a statement of fact, but a charge for each one of us.
Last night, Haver, Boulder ‘s Rabbinic Fellowship, issued the following statement on behalf of the Jewish community:
Haver, Boulder’s Rabbinic Council, stands in solidarity with the students, faculty, parents and administration of Boulder High School. What hurts one of us hurts all of us, and we support the school in its effort to create a safe environment.
As the rabbis of this community, we are shocked and appalled by the blatant racism and threats targeting African American students and we unequivocally condemn any such hatred and incitement to violence.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched arm in arm with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma in 1965 and famously remarked that he was praying with his feet that day. We commit, and encourage our congregants to commit, to speak up and stand up against this act and all others that threaten to diminish the safety and dignity of any individual or group in our community, as a core principle of our Jewish ethical tradition.
Haver, Boulder’s Rabbinic Council”