Racism & Reconciliation

Committee
The members of the Racism and Reconciliation committee recognize the presence of racism so deeply entrenched in our society and the harm and pain it inflicts on individuals, organizations and communities. The group seeks to increase our own awareness and deepen our understanding of the structure and impact of oppression, so that we can work most effectively for healing, reconciliation and justice in the St. Louis region.

We are in need of new members! Contact Lisa Burks if you’d like to join at lmburks60@gmail.com.

 

Lenten Racial Justice Journey

The College Church Racism & Reconciliation committee invites you to participate in a Lenten Racial Justice Journey. With the recent release of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter on racism, Open Wide our Hearts, now is the perfect time to make a Lenten commitment to engaging with racial justice in a new way. Consider incorporating the reading/listening/viewing of the daily materials into your prayer of the Examen. A variety of materials are offered for you to choose those that best guide your path. Sign up below to receive weekly emails and a racial justice examen to guide your prayer and check below the signup sheet for this week’s materials. Contact Christine with any questions or suggestions at christine@sfxstl.org.

Please consider joining us in reflecting on this week’s materials (click on the title to access the content):

Lenten Racial Justice Journey reflections

Lisa Burks, Racism & Reconciliation committee member and Racial Justice Journey organizer:

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“Some months ago, our parish welcomed community leader and activist Amy Hunter, who spoke on the topic of “Breaking Up With Racism.”  If you were there, you heard her compare our experience with racism to an unhealthy relationship.  In spite of its superficial “sex” appeal, we soon recognize within this relationship feelings of emptiness, guilt and isolation.  Yet, somehow, it is still hard to let go. (Would St. Ignatius call this a disordered attachment?)   The relationship does not need to be a romantic one, nor even a connection to a person.  The nature of racism is rooted in power, possession, and fear.  Like any toxic relationship, it limits our opportunities to live as our authentic selves.

 I reflect back on that discussion as I progress though our Lenten Racial Justice Journey.  I recognize my own voice in some of the examples of microaggressions and I repent of the harm I have done.  I am also grateful for all of the people of color who, in speaking their truth, offer a contrast to the story of “otherness” that I hear told in multiple ways each day.  I am inspired by the hope and humility of all who call us to construct an inclusive community, including our Catholic Christian family, in which our relationships are genuine, loving and life-giving. 

So in this Lenten season of “giving up,” when we seek to let go of those things that separate us from full life in the Holy Spirit, I have to recognize that it is not possible to simply give up the privilege I have as a result of my white skin.  However, I can give up the comfortable belief that there is nothing I can do to change the systems that make it so.  I can “break up with racism” by giving up the fear of questioning the status quo or of making a mistake.  I can give up the safety of silence.”

Joan McGinnis, Racism & Reconciliation committee member, with a special call to white Catholics:

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“If you want to get into Lent, try taking the Lenten Journey readings and videos daily for a challenge to your own racist/or antiracist thoughts, and culture. Know the latest Catholic bishops church pastoral letter, 11/2019. Take the authors suggestions to “walk toward your biases”. We white Catholics have much to learn about racism from the Letter of the Catholic Worker Movement, from African Americans , from our US history books which told us some half truths. Start with the first day of the Lenten journey, and improve your ability to interact personally to do what you can to be part of an anti-racist parish.”