Westport, Weston Clergy: “Let Us Not Sleep Through This Revolution

On this Independence Day, the Westport/Weston Clergy Association says:

In recent weeks many of us have come to a greater understanding of the constant, oppressive, life-threatening, structural racism endured by those among us who are black and brown.

Many of our ancestors endured a history of injustice and murder. Our black and brown siblings continue to face injustice and murder on a daily basis. Many of us thought we knew and understood. We have come to realize that we have so much more to understand, particularly those among us who have benefited from a system that favors whiteness.

In 1964 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Westport at the invitation of Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein. In his address at Temple Israel he said, “One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes… that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.”

Let us not sleep through this revolution.

This 1964 bnewspaper clipping shows Rev. Martin Luther King at Temple Israel. He’s flanked by Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein (left) and congregation president Dan Rodgers.

Let us learn to oppose racism and bigotry with all our hearts, all our souls, all our might.

Let us become anti-racists, actively dismantling structures of inequality and injustice.

Let us one day look our children in the eye and tell them honestly that we did our part to create a world more righteous than the one we inherited.

Let each of our congregations commit to action, so that black people will no longer be, in the words of Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson of Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, “treated as second-class citizens in the nation of our birth.”

It is not up to us to complete the work of repairing the world. But neither can we absent ourselves from it.

16 responses to “Westport, Weston Clergy: “Let Us Not Sleep Through This Revolution

  1. David Schaffer

    Happy Independence Day Dan, thanks for keeping us informed about the town, past and present.

  2. Celeste Champagne

    A well stated and appropriate comment for the times. (There is no reference as to who the members of the Westport/Weston clergy are specifically?)

  3. Mary Schmerker

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  4. In the spirit of Dan’s post, I recommend Reading a powerful excerpt from a new book that puts this moment in historical context. The History That James Baldwin Wanted America to See
    https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-history-that-james-baldwin-wanted-america-to-see

  5. By definition “Clergy” are well intentioned, but do not confuse and denigrate the noble intentions of our forefathers commemorated this date with the rioting, looting, burning perpetrated by the garbage that infests our streets recently. Their motives have zero to do with anything altruistic.

    • Bruce, I don’t think there has been any “rioting, looting, burning” for several weeks. And, as you know, some of that “garbage that infests our streets” who did those things were actually right-wing extremists using what was going on as a cover for their own ends.

      There was, however, quite a bit of incendiary talk last night at Mount Rushmore.

    • Peter Gambaccini

      Bruce, I asked this once before and didn’t get an answer. What is the deal with you, anyway?

  6. Ngassam Ngnoumen

    Happy 4th Dan, thanks for this piece.

  7. Raymond Skidgell

    Mr. Woog. You must have been watching a different speech because the speech President Trump made at Mount Rushmore if anything stressed the need for our country to be Unified no matter what race color or Creed. Perhaps you need to go back and re-read his speech then get back to us on this blog. Clearly you are biased against our President. I expect a lot of blowback from your readers who are also quite narrow-minded in their thinking about our President

    • Mr. Skidgell — I think we were watching different speeches.

    • Russell Gontar

      In the middle of a world wide pandemic, with over a 130,000 dead americans and counting, againsit the advice of the CDC and what remains of his “Covid task force” and on sacred land stolen from native americans, Mr. Trump deliberately, recklessly and without a thought or care for his fellow americans, decided to pack 7500 people shoulder to shoulder, chairs zip corded for several hours so he could spew his usual lies and distortions, attacking peacful protesters as “mobs”, saying the the “left wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution”, praised the arrest of protesting “ring leaders”, saying “children are taught in school to hate their country” and on and on the dog whistles sounded.

      If that’s your idea of bringing unity back to the country, then god help us all.

  8. Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein

    Dan,
    Thanks for your pertinent and eloquent comments. I have been heartened by the overwhelmingly peaceful and respectful protests and rallies that have taken place throughout our communities, in the spirit of Dr. King and my late parents.
    Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein

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