by M. Anthony Davis
Today is the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. As we take time to reflect on the multitude of events that took place in the aftermath, it is important to remember — Floyd did not make a sacrifice. He did not choose to give his life in hopes that his death would lead to a national racial reckoning that would catapult our nation, and a large part of the world, into a summer of protest. George Floyd wanted to live. He literally pleaded for his life. He is not a martyr. He is a victim.
In reflecting on Floyd’s death at the hands of Derek Chauvin, and the resulting protests and supposed U.S. “racial awakening,” it is hard for me to find a bright spot for this column. Police continue to kill citizens at the same rate they did before Floyd’s murder. In fact, since George Floyd was killed last year, 1,068 more people have been killed by police in the United States. According to data collected by the Washington Post, police have consistently shot and killed about 1,000 people per year since 2015. In 2021, we are currently on track to continue that fatal trend. And despite the nationwide movement in the wake of Floyd’s death calling to defund the police, many major municipalities, some of which vowed to defund, have failed to do so or defunded at miniscule rates.
Continue reading Reflecting on George Floyd, One Year Later
by Wendy Elisheva Somerson
“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Klu Klux Klanner [sic], but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels that he can set the time-table for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
—Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
As a longtime Jewish activist for racial justice I was appalled, embarrassed, and saddened by Rabbi Daniel Weiner’s op-ed in the Seattle Times, which, echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., reeks of devotion to order over justice. Supported by other local religious leaders, the op-ed misuses the legacy of John Lewis to attack and chastise brave local activists in the Movement for Black Lives here in Seattle.
Continue reading OPINION: The Movement for Black Lives Honors the Radical Legacy of John Lewis