Overcoming Racial Discrimination

This past December one of the world's greatest leaders was born into eternal life. Nelson Mandela left an indelible mark and I hope will continue to influence our understanding and living in a multiracial society.

This coming weekend, we in the United States, will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and his contributions to racial justice. I pause to ask myself "How do/will I honor the legacy of Dr. King and Nelson Mandela and make a difference with my life?"

As a Dominican sister, committed to racial justice through Anti-racism work, I consciously choose to reflect on my life and our society through the lens of racist attitudes and behaviors and to continually engage in conversion that leads to racial justice. Through study, daily living, caucusing, prayer and contemplation I hope to also leave a legacy.

The people of South Africa, Black and White, mourned the passing of their beloved Madeba. The singing and the dancing, the memorials and testimonies touched my heart. I want to know and learn more about how Mandela, and all involved in the antiapartheid movement, were able to live through the struggle and continue to maintain faithful to racial equality.

Mandela taught us about reconciliation, patience, courage, love, hope and non-violence. I am reading the book Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel. Reading this inspires me to live the gospel more intentionally.

Film is a poignant teacher for me. The Butler, Twelve Years a Slave, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, and Invictus all impact my understanding of the evil of racism and the incredible power of the human spirit.

Do you have hope that "We shall overcome racial discrimination?" Together we can make a difference!

Mary Therese Johnson, OP

Westchester, IL


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