Recently I participated in a vigil and march to protest the death of Amilcar Perez-Lopez at the hands of San Francisco police. I wanted to show solidarity with a visible Jewish presence, so, as an experienced service leader, I showed up in my yarmulke and prayer shawl.
The vigil began with music, dance, and prayer at the place where he died. I offered some traditional Hebrew words of comfort for mourners and poetry by Marge Piercy that said working for justice is a holy task.
Then we marched a few blocks to the police station, carrying candles of all colors in tall glass sleeves.
Chanting about police as murderers seemed wrong while the officers walking with us protected us from the traffic. I thanked one of them, and noticed that many were black. Perhaps this was intentional, to reduce racial tensions. I would have been more comfortable if our protectors were not carrying long batons and riot helmets.
At the police station, I placed my candle carefully on the sidewalk, precisely centered between the feet of two policemen guarding the station doors. After we marched off, the candles remained -- I saw them on the TV coverage -- shining in the dark like a promise, like a warning.