Monday, June 22, 2020

Learning Lessons in the Midst of Racial Unrest

In my last blog, March 15, I wrote about my passion for being a life-long learner. Then my learning experience took a sharp curve with two pandemics—the corona virus and the 400 year deadly racism virus. The blatant killing of Mr. George Floyd on May 25, 2020 set the world on fire. We cannot and must not ignore the urgent cry for justice.

Learning, for me, now focuses intensely on this deadly racism virus. Over the past two weeks our sisters shared articles, videos, took part in teach-ins and dialogs about “Where do we go from here?” (Oprah’s question).  Our congregation made a public statement expressing our outrage, sympathy, and solidarity with people of color. We stand on the side of justice for all. On June 8th Joan Duerst, OP wrote in her blog about ways she has engaged in action for justice now. Our congregation’s commitment to being anti-racist and multicultural has reignited our resolve.

Learning is not always enjoyable. Bryan Massingale, SJ has put a “fire in my belly.” He challenges me to look deeper and feel more compassionately the experience of Black people especially in our Catholic church. White people need to risk being uncomfortable and face this deadly sinful virus and do what we can to uproot this injustice of oppression. 

St. Augustine has said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” This is a fertile time to learn and live the gospel mandate to love. It begins by listening to our oppressed sisters and brothers of color. Their unrest is shouting out in rage. 

Can you hear their pain? Is this the turning point?

Mary Therese Johnson, OP
Sinsinawa, WI

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