Yesterday I bicycled to the Philadelphia Art Museum with my son to join a crowd of Philadelphians who had gathered to demand justice and equality. When I was a child my parents took me to participate in the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, where people of all races and walks of life came together to demand change. The protests sweeping our country today have given me the same powerful sense of solidarity and an even fiercer sense of urgency.
The murder of George Floyd is not an isolated incident, but merely the latest instance of the injustice, inequality, and brutality that Black Americans have endured for centuries. Last year I visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, a museum which unflinchingly chronicles America’s story of slavery, racial terrorism, Jim Crow, and the world’s largest prison system.
Like many others, I was deeply moved by my visit and came away with a renewed sense of sorrow and anger. The museum is the creation of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization committed to challenging racial and economic injustice and protecting the legal and human rights of the most vulnerable people in our society. Today I arranged for Jeffrey Miller Catering to make a financial contribution to EJI, in the name of my mother, whose social activism helped mold the values I hold dear today. I encourage others to do the same.
Racism is clearly still with us, in individuals and institutions, in attitudes and prejudices. It must be denounced and fought against—by electing leaders willing to bring about change; through peaceful but firm protest; and by each of us holding ourselves personally accountable and taking what actions we can in our personal and professional lives.
Black lives matter.
- Jeff Miller