Thursday, June 14, 2012

Working for Justice

As Dominicans of Sinsinawa we are committed to working for justice. One of our main goals is to become an antiracist, multicultural congregation. Many of us have participated in intense workshops sponsored by Cross Roads, an educational organization that supports and guides people and organizations that are striving to become antiracist. We made our formal commitment at our Chapter in 2000.

Each month I take part in an antiracist caucus group. There are five of us in my group. There are probably 15 caucus groups with 5-8 participants. We’ve shared our own personal stories of racism and have been significantly changed in the process. We come to know in a deeper way the influence of racism in our American culture of white privilege. Each caucus group communicates its monthly dialog on the internet so we can all benefit from the wisdom of one another.

Personally I continue to caucus because I want to and need to become more antiracist. It is not easy to admit that racism exists in me, in my sisters, in my church. I can see it in our society. In my ministy with the people of St. Sabina Faith Community in Chicago, an African American Catholic parish with a school I learned about the effects of racism first-hand. I am changed for good. Our members who are women of color are courageous faith-filled witnesses who make a difference in my life and in our congregation.

I have had many opportunities to listen, learn, and be transformed. I realize that I am not alone in this venture. Belonging to our congregation strengthens my personal commitment. I am grateful to be able to join with others who are participating in creating a holy and just church and society.

Consider sharing your life with us.

Mary Therese Johnson, OP
Westchester, Illinois

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your post. I'm interested in the Cross Roads organization you mentioned and will check it out. I grew up in a city neighborhood that was initially only slightly racially mixed. When I was in high school the first African American family moved into the block where I lived and I watched in amazement as one family after another moved out. However, I think the incident that really "introduced" me to racism was when I was nine or ten. I had been allowed to go to a near-by playground alone for the first time and was enjoying a ride on the swings. I saw a young African American girl about my age looking through the fence. She called to me through the fence and I went over to talk to her--she on the outside and I on the inside. We introduced ourselves and eventually I asked, "Want to come in and swing with me?" She said she couldn't and my reply was, "Why don't you ask your mother?" She kept insisting she couldn't come in and I kept repeating my advice that she should ask her mother. The only reason I knew of why you couldn't do something was that your mother wouldn't let you! She finally got across to me that it didn't have anything to do with her mother. When I went home I asked my mother what the problem was and was told about laws that prohibited African American children from playing in white playgrounds. Fortunately that changed the following summer but the incident remains in my head--and in my heart--to this day.


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