POINTS of VIEW: ‘What Is Their Cause, Has to be My Cause’

I asked my friend, Rabbi Victor Urecki of Charleston WV if I might reprint these thoughts he posted this week to his Facebook timeline. They speak for themselves. ‘Points of View’ is a regular feature of WestVirginiaVille~ Douglas John Imbrogno

Rabbi Victor Urecki

I keep thinking about why I now feel the need to speak up in solidarity and want to stand with those wanting to remove monuments to Confederate leaders.

And in favor of changing school names.

And banning the Confederate flag.

I am coming to the realization that there are times in life where an important event and a sudden awareness of one’s blindness merge into a single moment.

What in the past may have only made me uncomfortable but silent now becomes intolerable, because I hear clearly what brothers and sisters have been saying to me for so long.

What didn’t move me in earlier years because it didn’t concern me now moves me because it so rightly concerns people who are just like me.

Suddenly, what is of importance only to people of color is now of utmost of importance to this person of white privilege.

What I thought was harmless and not worth making an issue over becomes absolutely harmful, to not just the very being of those who are oppressed, but to my own soul and must be made an issue.

It is called gaining insight into another person’s pain.

Seeing it no longer through the eyes of the self, but the vision of the victim.

Suddenly, what is of importance only to people of color is now of utmost of importance to this person of white privilege.

What is their cause has to be my cause.

That is why I believe it is time to move the monuments that only bring painful memories to victims and not honor to this country.

Why it is a proper request to change the names of places to reflect the advancement of dignity and the inherent worth of all.

And why a piece of cloth that stood for slavery does not deserve to be dignified with and be allowed to share the same space that lifts our eyes to the Heavens and the Glory of G-d.

Rabbi Victor Urecki is the rabbi of B’Nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, WV.


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  • Errol Hess

    I was part of the demonstrations at Rock Lake Pool near Charleston in the 60s and involved with the civil rights movement in Huntington. So long. So far still to go.

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