I was honored to join a great group of people of all faiths to commemorate the events of March 1965 - the march from Selma to Montgomery that helped raise the awareness needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. Here were my words:
As people of faith, we share a tradition of protest and change, and faith in humanity to eventually embrace justice. Even in the Wilderness of Sinai, the Israelites brought forward their protests about unfairness in the system established by God.
In the Book of Numbers, the Daughters of Tzlofachad protested that they would not inherit according to the system laid out by God through Moses. Moses brought their protest to God, who in turn changed the law to allow daughters to inherit. Later on, others in Tzlofachad’s tribe pointed out that should these daughters inherit, and marry outside of the tribe, that the inherited lands would end up outside of the tribe as well. Moses again went to God, who again amended the law to make it more just.
Many of us share a tradition of protest that challenges injustice. When we imagine even the divine rewriting the rules of society to make them fairer, we understand that we must always rise up against violations of justice wherever we find them. It is upon us to bring concerns of justice to all authorities – even the highest laws must adhere to the highest standards.
We stand together here today, in commemoration of those who placed fairness over even their personal safety. In this Passover season of re-commitment to freedom, in this spring season of renewal, may we also renew our commitments to continue to pursue fairness and justice for everyone.