Brothers and Sisters to Us (U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979)“Racism is an evil which endures in our society and in our Church. Despite apparent advances and even significant changes in the last two decades, the reality of racism remains. In large part it is only external appearances which have changed....Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races. It is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. It mocks the words of Jesus: "Treat others the way you would have them treat you." (4) Indeed, racism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.”
Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963-2013)Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and FreedomAs we mark the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that occurred on August 28, 1963, we call attention to this significant event in the history of the struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans and other minority racial groups in the United States. Those who participated in the March on Washington came from different races and faith denominations, but were all united for a just cause. Seeking to touch and to move the heart of America, they came to the nation’s capital and marched to advance the cause for Civil Rights, calling for an end to segregation. They called attention to the economic disparity that existed for African Americans and other minorities in this country. St. Paul in Sacred Scripture declares, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10:15), and the participants marched on foot and proclaimed the good news of our God who acts in favor of the marginalized in our country; they called upon the nation to enact legislation that would benefit those suffering and forgotten. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, which redirected the moral compass of the nation toward concern for the cause of justice. Even today his words continue to inspire us. Joining Dr. King at the March on Washington were other religious, civic and community leaders, among them Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, who delivered the invocation, and many Roman Catholic priests, religious sisters and brothers and lay faithful.Fifty years later, we cannot deny the wide spectrum of advancement in many realms of society. We laud the fact that in our country there is more racial and cultural diversity among the leadership in both the public and private sectors. Many more doors of opportunity are open and certain legal remedies are in place. These benefits have allowed members of minority racial groups in our country to advance, and to offer more fully the benefits of their gifts and talents in efforts to work toward the common good for all in our country. The March on Washington and the struggle for Civil Rights have brought about significant accomplishments in the past 50 years.However, the Dream of Dr. King and all who marched and worked with him has not yet fully become a reality for many in our country. While we cannot deny the change that has taken place, there remains much to be accomplished. The US Catholic Bishops in their 1979 Pastoral Letter on Racism Brothers and Sisters to Us state, “But neither can it be denied that too often what has happened has only been a covering over, not a fundamental change. Today the sense of urgency has yielded to an apparent acceptance of the status quo. The climate of crisis engendered by demonstrations, protests, and confrontation has given way to a mood of indifference, and other issues occupy our attention.” These words continue to ring true at this current point in history. Further, the African American Catholic Bishops reminded us in their 1984 Pastoral Letter on Evangelization What We Have Seen and Heard that “the cause of justice and social concerns are an essential part of evangelization.” We must never allow other issues to eclipse our belief in the fundamental human dignity of each and every person, and our responsibility to build up and to transform society in the manner in which the gospel message of Jesus Christ clearly makes evident to us.Marking this 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we join our voices to those who call for and foster continued dialogue and non-violence among people of different races and cultures, and who work tirelessly for the transformative, constructive actions that are always the fruit of such authentic dialogue. We rejoice in the advances that have occurred over the past 50 years, and sadly acknowledge that much today remains to be accomplished. However, we must always view the task that remains from the perspective of the continued call to hope and in the light of faith. Dr. King once stated, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Those who participated 50 years ago in the March on Washington rooted themselves in infinite hope. Pope Francis wrote in Lumen Fidei, “Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters.” We also must join with one another rooted in infinite hope and, in light of what faith teaches, work to advance and fulfill the dream. We join the call for positive action that seeks to end poverty, increase jobs, eliminate racial and class inequality, ensure voting rights, and that provides fair and just opportunities for all. In Christ,Most Reverend Daniel E. FloresBishop of BrownsvilleChairman, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the ChurchMost Reverend Shelton J. FabreAuxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of New OrleansChairman, Subcommittee on African American AffairsMost Reverend Gerald BarnesBishop of San BernardinoChairman, Subcommittee on Hispanic AffairsMost Reverend Randolph CalvoBishop of RenoChairman, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islander AffairsMost Reverend Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap,Archbishop of PhiladelphiaChairman, Subcommittee on Native American AffairsMost Reverend Rutilio Del RiegoAuxiliary Bishop, Diocese of San BernardinoChairman, Subcommittee on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers
RECOMMENDED...The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights ended three weeks--and three events--that represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. Two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a "symbolic" march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., weighed the right of mobility against the right to march and ruled in favor of the demonstrators. "The law is clear that the right to petition one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups...," said Judge Johnson, "and these rights may be exercised by marching, even along public highways." On Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months after the last of the three marches, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965--the best possible redress of grievances.
Living Legacy Project website has “Marching in the Arc of Justice Conference” March 6-7, 2015. Watch keynotes and special events on demand here
What is the White Priviledge Conference ?The W.P.C. looks at White Privilege intersectionally, in the context of various Systems of Privilege.“Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Access to privilege doesn’t determine one’s outcomes, but it is definitely an asset that makes it more likely that whatever talent, ability, and aspirations a person with privilege has will result in something positive for them.” ~Peggy McIntosh“White Privilege is the other side of racism. Unless we name it, we are in danger of wallowing in guilt or moral outrage with no idea of how to move beyond them. It is often easier to deplore racism and its effects than to take responsibility for the privileges some of us receive as a result of it… once we understand how white privilege operates, we can begin addressing it on an individual and institutional basis.” ~Paula Rothenberg"I can completely understand why broke white folks get pissed when the word 'privilege' is thrown around...I was constantly discriminated against because of my poverty and those wounds still run very deep...[But] The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not in others." ~Gina Crosley-CorcoranExamples of Privilege is being able to… assume that most of the people you or your children study in history classes and textbooks will be of the same race, gender, or sexual orientation as you are assume that your failures will not be attributed to your race, or your gender not have to think about your race, or your gender, or your sexual orientation, or disabilities, on a daily basis...WPC is About Creating Change!“Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of ‘Whiteness’ and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equity and social change...To teach my White students and my own children...that there are different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions of justice and social healing.” ~Gary Howard“The most powerful message that continues to reverberate through my head and heart is that of looking at the future and eliminating systems of oppression through the lens of possibility and hope.” ~Educator commenting on WPC 7To learn more about privilege, we recommend: Privilege, Power and Difference, by Allan Johnson Privilege: A Reader, edited by Michael S. Kimmel and Abby L. Ferber White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism, by Paul Rothenberg Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person, by Gina Crosley-Corcoran
Those who died in Selma March... The Episcopal seminarian: Jonathan Daniels, The Baptist deacon: Jimmie Lee Jackson, The Unitarian minister: the Rev. James Reeb, The Unitarian laywoman: Viola Liuzzo