We have enclosed the document sent by the National Fraternity regarding the violent racist acts that continue to plague our country. By now, you have seen dozens of statements taking a stance against racism and expressing solidarity with the BLM movement. Very few of those statements have contained concrete actions to take as companies, organizations, or institutions. Racism is a systemic issue and as such it must be dismantled for it has no place in our community.
We are glad to see that the OFS JPIC statement is urging specifically to “do”:
As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to racism:
To identify and eradicate the structures in our societal institutions that perpetuate racism, and replace them with structures that are fair and just, and that value the lives and gifts of every person.
To pray for an end to racism; indeed, to pray for interracial solidarity, for our laws and our faith practices to reflect our compassion and value for the dignity of every human life; and that we lovers and followers of Jesus and Francis of Assisi, be leaders in bringing about a rightly informed sense of racial equity and justice in our land and in our Church.
To identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. After a shared history of hundreds of years in this country, we all have them. They make their way into our lives and culture, often unnoticed. But we can become more just and open by discovering these unconscious biases and replace them with love and engagement.
We may not be sure right now what each of these responses will require of us but know that no matter what, it is important that we be joyful, humble, and prayerful as we tackle the work necessary to be better leaders, better Franciscans, better Christians.
The work begins within us….