June 1, 2020 | Denver, Colorado
The Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a program of JEWISHcolorado, strongly condemns the unjust death of George Floyd. We send our deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and his community.
The Torah (the Hebrew Bible) teaches that we must not stand idly by while our neighbor’s blood is shed (Leviticus 19:16). It is what drives us to fight anti-Semitism, bigotry, and racism wherever it may rear its ugly head.
Over the course of human history — and in our living memory — we have seen what happens when people stood idly by while hate and oppression took the lives of millions and devastated ethnic and religious groups.
Notwithstanding the end of slavery 155 years ago, the African American community continues to bear the brunt of systemic racism. There are a number of examples: lack of access to healthcare and high rates of employment in positions deemed essential have resulted in African Americans suffering much higher rates of infection and death from the novel coronavirus; African Americans are incarcerated in American jails and prisons at a much higher rate than other groups; and many are justifiably fearful that interactions with law enforcement may escalate, resulting in them, their family, or their friends never coming home.
We applaud Governor Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s calls for an end to bigotry and racism, for validating the rights of Coloradans and Denverites to peacefully protest, and for condemning those opportunists who engage in senseless violence that will only serve to further divide us. JEWISHcolorado’s Regional Safety and Security Initiative is proud to work with those dedicated public servants whose primary objective is the protection and betterment of our society.
We draw inspiration from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and heed his call to action: “Racism is an evil of tremendous power [and] surrender to despair is surrender to evil… What we need is a total mobilization of heart, intelligence, and wealth for the purposes of love and justice.”
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the African American community to create meaningful change and justice for all.