Reverend and rabbi: Removing symbols of racism isn’t enough, we need policy action

Source: The Washington Post

BY Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Congress returns to work this week for the first time since blood was shed in Charlottesville.  In the ensuing weeks, our country has been roiled by historic storms and deadly floods, rank dehumanization and pointed bigotry, deepening fears of yet more violence. We are battered. We are exhausted. We are grieving.

We have taken heart in the kindness of neighbors and generosity of strangers; even in a time of polarization, Americans still find hope in one another. This was evident when many mosques, synagogues, and churches opened their doors to neighbors seeking refuge as the rains came down and Harvey’s floodwaters rose.

Since the Charlottesville violence, there has been a reckoning and much public reflection about race in America. The result: The sense that business as usual cannot continue.

Many municipalities have expressed a sudden willingness to remove celebrations of the Confederacy from our public spaces. The impetus to tear down statues, rename highways, and put flags away is a blessed one, long overdue, a welcome effort to atone for national sins of omission and commission against African American citizens. It is not now, nor will it ever be, remotely enough.

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