Watch Now: Responding to Racism
Racial justice is the systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice and racial equity goes beyond “anti-racism” to address the systemic, sinful roots of racism. It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measure. (Adapted from https://neaedjustice.org/resources/)
As we have celebrated Pentecost this past Sunday, we continue to invoke the Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon all of us in our one world.
Last Tuesday, we viewed the most painful (literally) breath-taking video of our lives. Six years ago, Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” were once again unheeded, this time as pleaded by George Floyd.
Since March, we have been hoping that, despite the sufferings of this COVID moment, somehow, our post-COVID world will be a better one, in education and in all dimensions of life. As devastating as this virus is, we have every confidence that it will pass. Meanwhile, racism has been with us for centuries but we have the capability of working together to ensure that it not persist beyond this decade! As we often hear, “Enough is enough.”
I am sure that you join me in denouncing the breath-taking action of four police officers last week.
I hope that you are, like me, tired of statements and hashtags that rise to the surface too frequently (and then as quickly, disappear). I hope that you are as blessed as I am to know many incredible Lasallians (and others) who serve the public as courageous police persons. I trust that we all realize that, even in an era of instant gratification, eradicating racism and promoting justice will take constant effort on the part of all of us.
Over the past days, I have been engaged in conversation with Maryann Donohue-Lynch who serves our District in the areas of Advocacy and Social Justice. She has collaborated already to form a powerful set of resources for reflection and action. Counting students, parents, alums, staff, faculty, administration, Board members, donors and well-wishers, we have tens of thousands of Lasallians in DENA.
Today we invite each of you to participate in our newly established Racial Justice Coalition to guide our District in thought and action.
A Coalition of thousands may be unwieldy but we hope to have the happy problem of too many members. We will find a way to organize committees so that your voice will be heard. If you want to join virtual arms with other DENA-ites in real sharing and planning, please click the button above, and use the online form to sign up for the Racial Justice Coalition.
Some thirty years ago, I was on the faculty of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. On retreats, in Religion class and in personal conversations, students (especially the young black men) spoke of the harassment, scrutiny, threat, and (thus) fear they lived with. It was heart-breaking then. It still is. Enough is enough! With our shared passion and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we believe that we will, in fact, make our world better for the long haul. Please join us.
Brother Dennis Lee, FSC
RACIAL JUSTICE RESOURCES
Updated July 6, 2020
Dr. Shannen Dee Williams is the Albert LePage Assistant Professor of History at Villanova University. She is completing her first book, Subversive Habits: The Untold Story of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States. Follow her on social media and read her articles at America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, and U.S. Catholic.
- “If racial justice and peace will ever be attained, it must begin in the church” for Catholic News Service
- “The church must make reparation for its role in slavery, segregation” for National Catholic Reporter
Fr. Bryan Massingale is one of the world’s leading Catholic social ethicists and scholars of African-American theological ethics, racial justice, and liberation theology. Buy his book Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. You can also read his work in National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic
Updated June 29, 2020
Why Do You Have to Make Everything About Race? America Magazine
Combating Racism USCCB
I Can’t Breath – A Litany for Justice Fr. Rafael Garcia S.J.
Updated June 22, 2020
The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015
A Pastoral Letter by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D. Bishop of Belleville, Illinois
Updated June 15, 2020
Updated June 8, 2020
Updated June 1, 2020
Statement by United Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Death of George Floyd and the Protests in American Cities
Lasallians Denounce Violence
Call for Action, Justice, Prayer