Being Jewish and a descendent of African American Slaves, I have chosen to put the stars of both my people side by side as I remember Yom HaShoah. One of the most healing aspect of Judaism to me is remembering pain and then transforming that into a commitment to heal myself, help heal others, and stand up for injustice so that our world can be better.
No one ever taught me to mourn for my ancestors lost in the Atlantic waters during the slave trade, or the countless killed just because they would not submit to degradation because of their skin color, those lynched, or killed for learning to read or refusing the Christian religion. Our symbol of hope was the Northern Star, sewed on quilts to direct escaping slaves to go north and follow the stars in the sky to freedom.
I am linked in heart and spirit to every Jew who has ever been killed because they refused to conform or just for being Jewish in ancestry regardless of observance. Our symbol is the Magen David. Once we were forced to wear it as a symbol of shame, now it is a symbol of resistance and boldness, Am Israel Chai.
Jews have always blended their heritage with the unique lands and peoples where we have interacted, and today I proudly do the same.
I am healing as I mourn my people from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, and the fields of Virgina/KY/Mississippi, to the soils of the lands of the Inquisition to the concentration camps.
I am brown Northern Star, born on the Ohio River aka the Jordan River.
I am the Star of David, a Jewess through and through.
I am all of my people, and will never forget…