Honoring George Floyd: dismantling white privilege

06/02/2020 7:04 am

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration take action to
honor George Floyd and dismantle white privilege

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration stand in solidarity with so many around the world who are outraged by the killing of George Floyd. As with the Leadership Council of Women Religious, we mourn with his family and friends and with all who have lost loved ones to law enforcement violence; all who live in fear; all whose dignity is threatened. The continued killing of Black men and women, the constant harassment of people of color, and the denial of the rights and dignity of our African American neighbors must end now.

“I’ve seen a lot of people post Bible quotes and prayers asking God to heal our world,” says Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Laura Nettles. “I think that is great, but I offer a clarifying reminder. Prayer requires a two pronged approach. In praying for healing we must ask God to specifically change our hearts (the one who is praying, not some abstract other) and then we must act out of that changed heart. Our world will be healed when we, with God’s providence, heal the world.”

george floyd

And with changed hearts, we commit to praying with and learning from those who grant us the insight and courage to know how we can be part of dismantling racism.

When Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Patricia Chappelle says “Systemic and institutional racism has been the fiber, the fabric and the foundation of this country,” we’ll listen.

When Adrienne Marie Brown asks, have you learned nothing:
have you learned nothing from war
inferno dappled muddy hose water, puddled
green edged flames of files, photos, losses
our battleground wherever you make us
defend life

...we’ll listen.

We’ll listen when M. Shawn Copeland says, “If we who purport to teach and do political theology have been slow to join in the vanguard resistance to the impunity with which black bodies have been subjected--and even if we have not--it is imperative that we learn from and think with the children, women and men of #BlackLivesMatter. This movement emerged from radical love, hope and risky collaboration of Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.”

And, we act. 

When Olga Segura writes “How can Catholics help lead the fight against racism?”, we’ll start by making a $5000 donation to We Love Lake Street, a cause focusing on rebuilding this Minneapolis street and supporting the family of George Floyd. And, with our partners in mission, Franciscan Spirituality Center, we promote this conversation: “Becoming Instruments of Peace: Addressing Racism & Our Response” (New! June 9, 7:30-8:30 p.m. via Zoom; note, the June 8 session is full).

And that’s the beginning. In June 2018 we declared a Revolution of Goodness by committing ourselves to celebrate authentically unity in diversity by challenging ourselves to unveil our white privilege. We recognize that there’s work to be done. 

As Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Thea Bowman said, “I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we’d have a tremendous light.” 

We invite you to reflect: How can your little bit contribute to the work of dismantling racism? And, how does your little bit start now?

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