Black History Month

Black History is American History

“It is love that compels us to resist racism courageously. It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist.” US Bishops, Open Wide our Hearts

“The truth is that the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church have been complicit in the evil of racism.” US Bishops, Open Wide our Hearts

“All of us are in need of personal, ongoing conversion.  Our churches and our civic and social institutions are in need of ongoing reform.  If racism is confronted by addressing its causes and the injustice it produces, then healing can occur.” US Bishops, Open Wide our Hearts

(Please continue to check this webpage as more events are coming)

Since the 1970s Americans have officially set aside February as a month to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans, to lift up the beauty and depth of Black and African culture, and to explore the fullness and truth of our American history through the experiences of our Black brothers and sisters and the sin of racism.

While this is a good and noble endeavor, that we have a month set aside for this speaks to the uncomfortable reality that our normative history has been mostly told from the perspective of the majority, the winners, the White people. Intentional or not, in our schools and universities the fullness of the truth of the American Black experience – from chattel slavery, convict leasing, to Jim Crow laws, lynchings and mass incarceration – and the fierce, ubiquitous, challenging nature of systemic racism that has structured the thinking, behavior and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of US history, has been neglected and sanitized down to a few national heroes and even fewer stories depicting the cruelty, torture and violence of being owned and controlled.

We invite you to come along with us as we learn about the reality of systemic racism in our time, break open our foundational Scriptural and church teachings that ground our understanding, explore the American Black experience and how we might work toward racial equity and stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters as we remember what Pope Francis told us upon the murder of George Floyd: “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

Event 1 – Book Review and Discussion via Zoom Wednesday Feb 10, 7- 8:30 pm

In Across That Bridge A Vision for Change and the Future of America, Congressman John Lewis draws from his experience as a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement to offer timeless wisdom, poignant recollections, and powerful principles for anyone interested in challenging injustices and inspiring real change toward a freer, more peaceful society.  Lewis explores the contributions that each generation must make to achieve change.

Please read the book and join our Book Discussion via Zoom Wednesday, February 10, 2021 7:00 – 8:30 pm to explore where the book led you and how God might be calling you to work towards dismantling the sin of racism.  Sign up here and a Zoom link will be sent to you: www.bit.ly/REIT-JLbook2021

Event 2 – USCCB Speaker on racism via Zoom – Tuesday Feb 23, 7- 8:30 pm

Racism is a life issue!  So say our Bishops in their 2018 pastoral letter against racism:  Open Wide Our Hearts the enduring call to love. Explore this courageous look at the horror that is racism at www.usccb.org/racism.

Come with your reservations, questions and hopes as Ms. Danielle Brown, the associate director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, engages with us around this powerful pastoral letter, our Scriptural and church foundations, our call to work to change hearts, policies and structures and act on behalf of our brothers and sisters of color toward an end to racism. Join us on Tuesday Feb 23, 7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom.  Sign up here to RSVP and a Zoom link will be sent to you:  www.bit.ly/BHM-USCCBspeaker2021

“It is love that compels us to resist racism courageously.  It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist.” (OWOH p. 15)

Event 3:  Course – Faith & Racial Equity: Exploring Power & Privilege beginning the week of April 12

Faith & Racial Equity: Exploring Power & Privilege is an eight week course that will be offered via Zoom on Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings beginning April 12/13. Rooted in faith, prayer and Scripture it awakens groups to the economic systems, public policies, cultural norms, and hidden biases that empower some and oppress others. It introduces a framework for understanding and recognizing racial disparities in power and privilege and helps participants explore how faith should inform their response to learning, as well as discern action steps for working toward racial equity in their own communities.

Faith and Racial Equity is not for the faint of heart. It is designed for participants who are willing to wrestle with hard questions and take an honest look at their own attitudes, assumptions, and choices. However, through spiritual grounding and community-building, participants find support and belonging throughout their journey to personal transformation and social action.

Sign up here if are interested or would like to learn more: www.bit.ly/SFA-FRE2021

Event 4 – Demonstration – Creedmoor Rd – Tuesday Feb 16, 4 – 5:30 pm

Come stand in solidarity and be a prophetic witness for our brothers and sisters of color on Tuesday Feb 16th 4:00 – 5:30 pm.  We will meet at Benson United Methodist Church 4706 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612.  Sign up here and more information will be sent to you: www.bit.ly/BHM-demonstration2021  We will begin in prayer, wear masks and safely social distance outside.

Scripture and the principle of solidarity within Catholic Social Teaching tells us that we are one human family, despite our racial differences, united to one another through Christ.  And that solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people.  On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the good of all people.

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