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Rabbi's Week In Review - 4/26/2021

04/26/2021 02:54:09 PM


The jury made the correct decision in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Anyone who watched the horror play out on video — the nine minutes and 29 seconds of slow, cold-blooded murder — could not have thought otherwise.

But I and others are left with mixed emotions, if not a sense of confusion, as to the appropriate response to the verdict. I am relieved that justice was served in this one case. I also think that for those who took a moment to celebrate, there was nothing inappropriate about that response. But the reality is that there may have been a different outcome if not for the video, and the spate of police-involved shootings and racial profiling in Minneapolis, in Virginia, in Ohio, is a stark reminder that there is so much work to be done.

I want to be emphatic that I am not anti-police. I say this as a KCPD chaplain, and as someone who would feel comfortable calling the police, if necessary, to protect me — and I think they would protect me. I just want all of our Greater Kansas City-area citizens to feel as I do.

Advocating for real change in the way we carry out policing would not only lead to a more just system for our Black brothers and sisters, I sincerely believe, but also lead to a more trusting and supportive community — a safer environment — for our police officers. Transparency in police conduct, local control of our Board of Police Commissioners, better recruitment from within communities most impacted by systemic racism, and better and different training and retraining are all needed to start down the long road of creating trust between communities of color and our police.

So for me, a celebration of justice is postponed. Yet I do live with hope that such a celebration will occur soon and in my lifetime. So many lives depend on all of us to engage in the work to finally put an end to systemic racism.

Sat, May 8 2021 26 Iyyar 5781