Stand United Speech
Wendy Goldberg, Tri-Faith Initiative Executive Director
June 7, 2020
I have a lot on my mind– just like you do– lots to digest:
America is highly polarized and highly segregated.
COVID uncovered systematic inequity.
Americans, particularly Black Americans, are in mourning. That mourning reflects a tragedy that has unfolded since the beginning of our country and has been forced before our eyes by video after video.
I want to stand for justice for George, James, Breona, Ahmaud…and others.
My consciousness has been stirred.
As a white person, I can’t know the hardship of anti-black racism firsthand.
I know race has been black cultures’ burden and racism is deeply woven into the fabric of our society.
I see the identities of people sitting at the table of power are largely white, male, middle-upper class, and able-bodied.
I showed up today because I want to actively disrupt racism.
I have so many questions….
Does this event help? Is it meaningful to come together in Temple’s parking lot with our fully funded building and fancy cars and jobs? Is this about us? Can we reframe the expectation– and stop making this about how white people feel.
I know I must deepen my understanding of systematic racism — we all need continuous education without forcing our already burdened black friends to educate us.
I know it is my duty to learn about the history of racism in America and what steps I can take to combat racism in all forms. I hope you will join me.
I know it is not enough to not be racist; I must be anti-racist to overturn centuries of injustice.
Black communities have lived the experience of inequality for generations.
The past three months have taught me, and I imagine you as well, we can change our behaviors in ways we never imagined.
Let’s talk about the white supremacy in our current institutions — According the the book White Fragility “Congress is 90% white, governors are 96% white, military advisors are 100% white, people who decide what TV shows we see are 93% white, what books we read are 90% white, teachers are 82% white, music producers 95% white”— complacency with this reality is in our hands.
Institutional racism is deeply ingrained in our society. Dismantling it requires a long-term commitment to structural, social, and cultural change. It also requires repentance, recognizing that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and must be treated this way. Further, it requires aiccountability for the leadership of our cities, counties, states, and nation.
We have a chance in 2020 to vote with our feet. Let’s open our hearts and minds — let’s add our resources and our voices to make systematic changes to end decades of injustice in our city, in our schools, in our expectations of police and our government leaders– we need change in every corner of our society.
This is an election year– YOU need to vote AND to help get out the vote — so we have leaders who are able to help us navigate this storm instead of ignoring and push it away again.
As a white person, I need to talk less and listen more.
It is my turn to be QUIET and TRY MY VERY BEST TO HEAR what BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE TELL US they need.
My heart, and experts, suggest this may be the best way to become an ally who helps to achieve SYSTEMATIC JUSTICE.
Thank you for standing with the Tri-faith community as we say what should not have to be repeated so many times: Black Lives Matter.