Statement on Trial Verdict

Originally written for UpStart’s audience, April 2021:

For many members of our community, racial violence is a constant and persistent threat, reinforced and re-experienced when murders by public authorities – such as George Floyd’s – are committed and then recorded. 

This trauma is not eased by the conviction of Derek Chauvin.

But in the struggle for justice, one in which our systems so frequently fail those who critically need it, it is important to mark the moments when things go wrong, and equally important to recognize when things go right.

Yesterday’s verdict does not undo what has been done. It doesn’t bring George Floyd back to his family. And it won’t eradicate centuries of systemic racism that have made Black and Brown people in America unsafe. The news of a fatal police shooting only hours after the verdict reinforces how much work there is to be done.

But hopefully what this verdict will do is make the Floyd family feel seen, heard, and dignified. Hopefully it answers a call for accountability from across the country and the globe. Hopefully it restores a sense of humanity to those that our system consistently dehumanizes.

As we said in our commitment to racial justice, at UpStart, we are committed to advancing racial equity in our operations, and in Jewish communal life.

We are motivated by Rabbi Tarfon’s words in Pirkei Avot – Ethics of Our Fathers: “The day is short, and the work is great … but the reward is much, and the owner is pressing us on.”

We stand with our staff and board members of color, our network members of color, and all people of color in this struggle. And we will press on.

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