Last week reminded us yet again that we have a long way to go in our work towards a more just society for all. Madisonians, along with the rest of our country, are reeling following the murder of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as he pleaded for help. This should not have happened. We join with others in our community in expressing our grief, outrage, and demand for justice.
Over the past week, communities nationwide have come together to mourn the loss of George Floyd and express their grief, pain, sorrow, and anger over generations of racial injustice. We support the thousands of people in Madison who gathered peacefully, and those expressing themselves from home during this pandemic, to help dismantle the systemic racism embedded within American policing, the criminal justice, and society at large.
We join with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and city leaders in calling on our community to come together and heal after the violence and property damage that erupted Saturday and Sunday nights on State Street, instigated by a relatively small group of people following Saturday's peaceful protest. It was incredibly heartening and hopeful to see our neighbors performing gemilut hasadim (acts of lovingkindness) by volunteering with clean up efforts Sunday morning to support the approximately 75 vandalized, looted, or both, State Street businesses.
We are deeply angry and saddened by the hardships and heartache our local businesses are having to endure as a result of this destruction, many of whom are so generous in giving back to our community. But we can not allow our sadness over senseless property damage overshadow and distract us from our greater outrage about the unjustified deaths of black people. We can repair property, but we can't bring people back to life.
We must not let this divide us or divert us from the hard work and vigilance needed to bring about serious social change in our nation. Our Jewish tradition compels us to seek justice. As a community, we must all embody the values for which we advocate by opening our hearts and understanding the pain of others. Today, not tomorrow.
We will not stop fighting for a world free of racism and bigotry in all of its forms.
Chair, Community Relations Committee