Called In NOT Called Out
On this day following the funeral of George Floyd and in the midst of ongoing protests around the world, we have an opportunity to pause and reflect. This is a time to take a collective look in the mirror. These days of conflict and protest within our cities call every American to take a serious look at the inequities and disparities which surround us every day.
These marches for justice should not serve to call all us out – for guilt over the wrongs of the past does very little bend the arc of justice in a positive way. Rather, these marches and protests must serve to “call us in.”
As the conscience of our nation has been stirred to its core, each of us must be stirred as well. We need to open our eyes to the uncomfortable truth that at the foundation of countless institutions that serve us every day are injustices and inequities rooted in racism. We need to see that at the heart of many of the neighborhoods within in our cities, the schools that are available to our children and the policies we have designed to protect us are disparities which treat people differently because of the color of their skin. We need to recognize the uncomfortable truth that – no matter how good we think we may be and no matter how caring we may think we are – most of us remain blind to matters of race that demand our immediate attention.
These ongoing realities of inequity and injustice do not call us out, they call us in.
We are “Called In” to examine our hearts;
We are “Called In” to examine our thoughts;
We are “Called In” to examine our actions;
We are “Called In” to take accountability for ourselves.
The truth is that justice and change rise up ONLY when good people refuse to be bystanders, ONLY when good people refrain from being silent, ONLY when good people choose to do inconvenient and uncomfortable things for the greater good.
To this task of personal accountability, each of us must consider ourselves “called in.” To this task of personal accountability, I challenge each of us to look in the mirror every day and ask:
“What can I learn from the anger and frustration raging in the streets?”
“How might I broaden my understanding of race-based injustice?”
“What can I do in the pursuit of justice, mercy and peace in my daily interactions?”
“How can I do better?”
In the weeks and months to come, issues of social justice will remain at the forefront of our efforts at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism. We are all called in, for as we are commanded in the Torah, “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof – Justice, justice you shall pursue, that you may live. . . “ (Deuteronomy 16:20)