Racism...Violence...Social Unrest... What can we do?


As we face the social unrest, protests, & violence in response to recent hateful & unspeakable actions by police against George Floyd and other people of color, we are faced with burning and urgent questions about how do we proceed? How do we respond in the face of hate? violent murder? and social disobedience and criminal behavior.  I discuss these very issues in my own family & seek to clarify the way forward to myself, my family & my own growing child.  And as I contemplate these concerns and pray for guidance I am faced with a simple and all-pervasive response.  

It becomes incredibly clear that we cannot fight fire with fire and expect a change.  We cannot take a hate-drenched act of violence that results in murder and respond with hate-drenched actions of violence that result in looting and destruction of the very places and things we are seeking to protect & support.  These responses only keep us on the karmic wheel going through the motions and awaiting for when the wheel turns once again.  We must RESPOND to INJUSTICE with PEACEFUL PROTEST, RESPOND to HATE with UNSHAKABLE CONVICTION to practice ACCEPTANCE, TOLERANCE & RESPECT.  We must RESPOND to ACTS OF HATRED by RAISING UP THOSE PEOPLE & PLACES THAT SERVE FROM A PLACE OF LOVE & BROTHERHOOD.

If we remember that we are ALL children of the same Creator, then we begin to view one another as BROTHERS & SISTERS.  And if we can do that, then when we see our brother acting in ways that spawn racism, we refuse to accept acts of malice and cruelty.  However, we also refuse to respond with the same acts of malice and cruelty.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, WE BECOME THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.  We demonstrate and make manifest the very love and peace that we are seeking to find.  Do we protest against injustice? Of course!  Peacefully.  Do we turn and believe that we must transform the minds of everyone we can?  Or might it serve our cause better to TEACH & PRACTICE acceptance & respect, and demonstrate to our families and communities what that looks like.  Do we allow ourselves to contribute to further feeding the vicious cycle, or do and we feed those relationships and those communities where tolerance, respect and social acceptance are the cornerstone?!?

In another anonymous quote about how to overcome a painful and intolerable experience, it is said: "IF THE EARTH SHOULD BECOME A HARSH OR PAINFUL PLACE TO WALK, DO NOT SEEK TO COVER IT WITH LEATHER.  INSTEAD, SIMPLY PUT LEATHER ON THE SOLE OF YOUR FEET & AS YOU PROCEED MAKE THE WORLD A WONDERFUL PLACE TO WALK."  Does that insinuate that we should remain passive in the face of harsh and painful experiences?  Absolutely not! We should bring about change by, FIRST, making sure the change we seek manifests within OUR ACTIONS, OUR RELATIONSHIPS, OUR COMMUNITIES.  And we do so from a place of wisdom, patience, and respect.  We demand justice.  We must! No act of social injustice, or act of hate, especially murder, shall remain unanswered.  

So let us move forward with healthy and wise boundaries as to what it is we will and absolutely will not accept in our communities and our world.  And then let us feed and support those people and places that support our cause and our desired future because it is through seeing growth in these relationships and places that we can see social acceptance, justice & love infiltrate and weaken its opponents of intolerance, injustice & hate.

I stand in honor & salute those people and organizations, brother & sisters, that promote & seek to expand our unification & our peaceful co-existence; those people who speak & act out against injustice and bring about positive change.  There are countless people who protest & bring about change that is lasting and starts from within and there are countless police-persons who support and protect our country from a place of justice and social equality, and it is them that I salute!  I thank them for being the change we & they wish to see in the world.  

Standing in prayer for our peaceful & unified future,

Bracha Oriana Fishman


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