Vic Rosenthal Obituary, Death – St. Paul native and longtime activist Vic Rosenthal, 68, was recognized this past weekend as the city declared March 18 “Victor Rosenthal Day” in recognition of his many years of service to the community and pursuit of social justice. According to the proclamation issued by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Rosenthal has been a persistent fighter for immigrant rights, marriage equality, and the right to vote. With his efforts at Metro State University, as an educator, as a champion for inclusionary zoning, and as a builder of affordable housing, he “has made St. Paul a more equitable and accessible place to live,” as stated in the proclamation.
Notwithstanding the political climate, bad weather, illness, or (been told no in the past), Vic “has always been accompanied by a total unwillingness to hear the word no or stop fighting for justice,” the mayor stated. Rosenthal led the Jewish Community Action group in St. Paul, Minnesota, an organization that seeks to eradicate poverty, prejudice, and inequality, from 2000 until 2017. Before that, he was a founding member and board member of the organization.
To ensure the long-term survival of the organization’s rich history, Rosenthal asked for and won three legacy grants from the Minnesota Historical Society, which he used to compile the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives and produce a book about the group’s past. Rosenthal, whose ancestors were immigrants, highlighted immigration and anti-racism/white supremacy (which he claimed was tied to anti-Semitism) in a 2021 University of Minnesota article about his archiving efforts.
According to Rosenthal, the group’s 2012 efforts to defeat the marriage and Voter ID amendments were “among some of the most spectacular initiatives I have ever been a part of,” particularly because they were predicted to fail but ultimately succeeded. We triumphed because thousands of volunteers from various groups banded together to tackle the problem, and chances like that don’t present themselves very frequently. In a feature published in 2013 by the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Rosenthal expressed enthusiasm for continuing his work with the JCA even after four decades.
I contributed to a group that truly helps people, he remarked in the post. That’s about as good as it gets, really. Rosenthal “is the embodiment of an unsung hero who has made St. Paul and surrounding areas a better place to live,” as journalist Wayne Coffey wrote in an email to the Pioneer Press. With Rosenthal’s loved ones looking on, Carter read the proclamation to him. Coffey said that Rosenthal is receiving hospice treatment for his disease.