By Andrew Gurvey – TBY Co-Owner & Teacher

What an amazing time to be alive.  I’m sure those words come across as surprising considering the world we are living in today. In a world divided, it seems that reaching the summit of agreement on any level is an impossibility at best, and civil unrest at worst.  It seems that the state of affairs of the world has fomented some really nasty behaviors.  I suppose those behaviors have been around forever, but with the advent of technology, we are now able to view and chronicle events in real-time using our smartphones.  Because of this and our accelerated ability to see and hear about events as they unfold, the continued violations of the civil rights of black people for the last 400 years is being brought back into the spotlight.  Make no mistake, The United States of America was built on the economy of slavery, and every system in the United States was designed to favor white people while simultaneously preventing black people from succeeding.

In our systemically racist society, black people are disproportionately arrested, incarcerated, and killed, sometimes… oftentimes, for no reason at all.  George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, Eric Garner, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Michael Brown are but a few names in the last 10 years of black people whose lives were snuffed out at the hands of police or trigger happy citizens for no other reason than that they were black.  After The acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer in 2013, the hashtag #blacklivesmatter started circulating around the internet. This hashtag turned into a movement that is getting stronger every day.  The number of killings of black people at the hands of law enforcement since the death of Trayvon Martin is positively unconscionable and is so despicable that the Black Lives Matter movement has gained steam internationally, and the desire for white people to confront their racism and examine their part in systemic racism has never been higher.

Because of this, we are so grateful to be hosting a Black Lives Matter event where we utilize the practice of yoga with the wisdom of an incredible guest speaker who has graciously agreed to share his story and offer us the opportunity to listen and learn.  We understand that opportunities like this are a gift and that we are lucky to be able to participate in an event like, “Yoga for Change, Black Lives Matter”.  I hope you’ll join me for this event, where you’ll be given the opportunity to hear another point of view and interact in a way that will open your eyes further both to the injustices of society, but also learn what you can do to make the world a better place.  What an amazing time to be alive!

(About the author: Andrew earned his degree in Government/International Relations from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Andrew’s time living and working on Kibbutz Palmachim near Rishon-Letzion in Israel from 2000-2001 shaped the way he sees the world. So did yoga. He’s been teaching and studying yoga for well over a decade and considers Desiree Rumbaugh his primary yoga teacher.  Andrew actively participates in The Mankind Project’s mentorship program. Andrew has a career as a mechanical engineer for Underwriter’s Laboratories in Chicagoland. He is passionate about human rights issues, is very outspoken, and actively educating himself on issues of gender and racial inequality in America. In his spare time, Andrew sings and plays guitar, has a mild obsession with bikes, is a voracious reader and self-proclaimed tech-nerd. He lives in Chicago’s north suburbs with his wife, two step-kids, and rescue dog.)