Burbank Human Relations Council Urges City Leaders And Community To Work For Racial Justice

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Marsha Ramos (Chair of Programs), Suzanne Weerts (Member) and Gwen Flynn (Past President) of the Burbank Human Relations Council advocate for racial justice. (Photo Courtesy Marsha Ramos)

The Burbank Human Relations Council has released a statement on the recent protests for racial and social justice that have swept the nation over the past few weeks, including multiple protests and marches throughout the City of Burbank.

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“Peaceful protests across Burbank over the past two weeks are a sign of hope. To promote social justice, we must listen, we must hear and we must learn,” commented George Saikali, President of the Burbank Human Relations Council.

“This is the time to be honest about this crisis and to be willing to take positive steps forward. We must as a community, both local and nationally, be brave; we must stand together for the more ‘difficult right rather than the easy wrongs of indifference.'”

“We must be the vessels of understanding and compassion, continuing the fight to improve the quality of lives for the most vulnerable and achieve justice for all people,” Saikali added. “We hope you’ll join the Burbank Human Relations Council’s call to choose love and work for justice.”

Marsha Ramos (Chair of Programs), Suzanne Weerts (Member) and Gwen Flynn (Past President) of the Burbank Human Relations Council advocate for racial justice. (Photo Courtesy Marsha Ramos)

Here’s the media release from the BHRC:

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Sixty-two years ago the Burbank Human Relations Council was formed by Burbank residents, people of faith and activists in response to a violent threat lodged against a hard working black man. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering good human relations in our city by promoting equality and understanding through education and action.

Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of George Floyd. As history has shown, Floyd’s murder is a loss the black community has grievously suffered many times, and we are profoundly affected by the horrifying images of his death. We lift our voices and our fists in righteous anger and outrage at this injustice. We cannot tolerate the cycles of racism and inequity that have resulted in violence to  people of color in our communities. To all who have been affected by racism and hate, we stand in solidarity with you to share your pain, sadness, frustration, and disappointment. Hate has no home here in Burbank.

At times like this we call upon our faith leaders to provide insight:

Rabbi Mark Sobel of Temple Beth Emet in Burbank reminds us that George Floyd’s death was not merely one of a single human being, the Talmud says “When you destroy a soul, you have destroyed an entire world”.  The Talmud continues, giving us aim and direction, notes Rabbi Sobel, “’He who saves a life, it is as if he saved the world.’ Remember friends, violence is destructive and peace is constructive. To honor the memory of George Floyd may we make peace today and everyday.”

Pastor Ryan Chaddick, of American Lutheran Church in Burbank shares his reflection with us on the death of George Floyd, “Our breath is the very spirit of God animating and sustaining us. Perhaps this is why our hearts are broken over the ways in which the breath flowing out of black folks seems to matter less in our society. When a man says, `I can’t breathe. You are choking me.’ Do our hearts break? Are our spirits devastated? May we honor the breath in all of us, in you, and in me, by honoring the breath from our black siblings. Because until Black Lives Matter, we cannot proclaim that all lives matter. May policing be about serving and protecting black bodies, and lives and breath. May we see breath as sacred.”

In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke of the “fierce
urgency of Now,” he cautioned that it would be “fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the
moment.” We face just such an urgent moment again today. In this time of tragedy and upheaval, let us renew our commitment with a heightened sense of urgency.

For more information on the BHRC visit their website here.

Members and faith leaders of the Burbank Human Relations Council advocate for racial justice. (Photo Courtesy Marsha Ramos)