For I was hungry and you gave me food….
- More than a quarter of African-American households are food insecure. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
I was thirsty and you gave me drink…
- 5 million U.S. Latinos live in colonias (unincorporated communities with substandard housing) along the U.S.-Mexico border, “where a lack of potable water and sewage treatment contributes to waterborne diseases such as giardiasis, hepatitis, and cholera.” (Mom’s Clean Air Force)
- “Even as children were showing up sick in doctor’s offices with rashes and cases of hair loss, state environmental officials and elected leaders refused to see the warning signs. Would more have been done, and at a much faster pace, if nearly 40 percent of Flint residents were not living below the poverty line? The answer is unequivocally yes.” (NAACP Statement Regarding the Flint Water Crisis)
A stranger and you welcomed me….
- The Obama administration deported more than 430,000 undocumented immigrants in fiscal year 2013. 2 million people have been deported since Obama took office. (Pew Research Center)
Ill and you cared for me….
- “American Indians and Alaska Natives have an infant death rate 60 percent higher than the rate for Caucasians. AI/ANs are twice as likely to have diabetes as Caucasians. An example is the Pima of Arizona, who have one of the highest diabetes rates in the world. AI/ANs also have disproportionately high death rates from unintentional injuries and suicide. In 2012, the tuberculosis rate for AI/NAs was 6.3, as compared to 0.8 for the White population.” (US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health)
In prison and you visited me….
- In 2013 “non-Hispanic blacks (37%) comprised the largest portion of male inmates under state or federal jurisdiction in 2013, compared to non-Hispanic whites (32%) and Hispanics (22%). White females comprised 49% of the prison population compared to 22% black females. However, the imprisonment rate for black females (113 per 100,000) was twice the rate of white females (51 per 100,000).” (US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics)
- What do these “numbers” tell us about whether – or how – we are loving our African-American, Latino, and Native American neighbors as ourselves?
- Or as the Scripture puts it, “Lord, when do we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” In our country? Our communities? Our neighborhoods?
Mary Baudouin is the Provincial Assistant for Social Ministries for the Jesuits of the US Central and Southern Province.