I am also happy because it is an appropriate day to share Heather Thum-Gerber’s gift: White Silence is Violence. Silence is Broken (link is to the reflection and pictures in the ADL). Heather describes her experience on June 11, 2020, when she joined the protesters gathered with Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ) to end white silence on the topic of racism. "Ironically, we chose to be silent to end the silence," she writes. The protestors all knelt silently on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time George Floyd’s neck was forced down by an officer’s knee. To understand the meaning of the white silence through the generations after African Americans were emancipated, Heather draws on the story of the silent centurion at the crucifixion of Jesus. She concludes that "white silence is violence," and her own "silence is broken" now. Heather will use her voice loudly in the movement for justice.
I asked Heather how her anti-racist voice and identity will play out, reminding her of the ADL definition: Anti-racism is some form of focused and sustained action, by a mix of people which includes inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi-lingual and inter-abled communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has racist effects.