What Can I Do?
This is a question I have been asking myself for the last week. As I have watched many in the country rise up to the systemic racism and injustice in many of our police forces, judicial systems, prison systems, housing systems and more. What can I do?
The very first thing that I must do is recognize and admit to myself that these problems actually exist. Many continue to insist that they do not. But we can not offer sympathy to the family of George Floyd and continue to suggest that this is an isolated incident perpetrated by rogue police officers.
As I sit safely in my overwhelming white city of Henderson, Nevada it is easy for me to remain apathetic to the systematic injustice happening just a few miles away from me and in hundreds of cities around the U.S. It is easy for me to go about my daily life thinking I and our government treat everyone, black, white, and brown, equally. I can simply lay blame on the minority communities themselves for not having seized the opportunities America has given them. I can continue to perpetuate the myths my white privilege so easily promulgates about the internal forces that are keeping minorities from reaching their full potential. I can keep believing I have any clue what my African-American, Hispanic-America, Asian-America and other racial minorities experience in their daily lives. But, If I want to see change, it has to start with me admitting there is a problem in the first place. Change has to start with me.
In order for me to know what I can do, I need to start listening to the people who are being affected by the discrimination and inequality that I have been ignoring for so long. It has to be more than thoughts and prayers. It needs to be more than hashtags and black-outed social media posts. It should be more than posting pictures and memes about support and solidarity.
I share with you two resources that I have found with ideas for real action and real change. I do not agree with them all, but there are many I can start doing right now.
The first is from an online blog called Medium:
This second is a list of resources compiled by my cousin Rabbi Marina Yergin:
As I sit here writing this, there is no one blocking my streets with parades of people chanting for change. There is no curfew here. My grocery stores are not being looted, my Target is not being vandalized, as far as I know the Henderson police are not being targeted. But this should not lull me into complacency, but rather inspire me to action.
Let us not let these moments pass without asking, what can I do?
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.