Sixteen-year-old Adam Garvey was not able to participate in the demonstrations decrying the death of George Floyd and police brutality. In his hometown of Orangetown, NY, there weren’t any protests he could easily attend.
“If I couldn’t go to a protest in person I wanted a way to help instead of just retweeting and whatnot,” Adam told the Journal in an interview. “I wanted to feel like I was making a tangible effort to help change things.”
So the teenager did what he does best: create art. He released a line of t-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers with the phrase “Tikkun Olam means Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on a Jewish star. All proceeds from the clothing, which is available on TeeSpring, will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit legal organization that fights for racial justice. The fund, according to its website, “defends the gains and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights struggle.”
Along with raising money for the fund, Adam said he “wanted to show solidarity as a Jewish person. Black and Jewish solidarity is super important and I wanted to spread that.” He believes that “standing up against injustice is a huge part of Jewish values.”
He added that Tikkun Olam also means “being anti-racist and anti-bigotry. Repairing the world or healing the world to me means fighting against broken systems and against systems designed to suppress people based on the color of their skin, or their gender/sexuality, or their religion.”
Some Jewish leaders have been at odds with Black Lives Matter as an organization due to its support of the boycott, divestment and sanction movement (BDS), describing Israel’s actions against the Palestinians as “genocide” and “apartheid” in its political platform.
However, Adam urged Jews to look beyond the rift. “I think that Black Lives Matter needs to go beyond the organization in terms of what it means to individual people,” he said. “Black Lives Matter means just that — that black lives matter. Using the organization’s BDS stance to say one doesn’t like the entire movement is frankly a cop out way to justify one’s silence.”