“Endurance is not to be confused with transformation,” bell hooks (see “Balancing Compassion and Strength“)
“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”
— Babylonian Talmud: Sanhedrin 37a.
There is still much to be learned on the omer journey away from oppression. As our learning journey progresses, the March 2 Justice approaches the U.S. Capitol, providing an opportunity to learn directly from civil rights leaders and marchers themselves.
In their “Why We March,” the NY Justice League notes that JUST THIS YEAR the individuals listed here on the right, many with mental health issues, were killed by police.
In their honor, and in the names of Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, John Crawford III, and Ramarley Graham, the NY Justice League is calling for
- an end to racial profiling,
- stopping the militarization of our local police forces, and
- demanding the government invest in our youth and communities.
We counted 16 on the evening of April 19. Tonight, we count….
May each die-in act,
the last moments of the departed,
bind their deaths more tightly
into our national consciousness
and collective commitment to change.
— from “Grief and Struggle” prayer
Faith-based action brought the #BlackLivesMatter movement directly into Congressional space. The House Office die-in was designed to interrupt “business as usual” in the halls of Congress just as the new session begins.
“As people of faith, we are calling on Congress to take action on racial justice and heed the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Stosh Cotler of Bend the Arc said, as she and dozens of other faith leaders left the Longworth House Office building, Jan. 21.
In addition to Bend the Arc, which has NY and DC offices, participants came from Auburn Seminary (NYC), Jews United for Justice (DC), Standing on the Side of Love, and a number of congregations in different denominations as well as unaffiliated Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others in support of DCFerguson and Black Lives Matter.
Although the action’s duration on the Longworth cafeteria floor was short — not quite the planned 4-1/2 minutes, as Capitol Police insisted that the faith gathering disperse — it is hoped the action will inspire further education and action on the part of individuals and congregations across the country… leading ultimately to many needed changes, including Congressional action.
Extend the moment yourself by learning more and following up.