BY CHRISTOPHER KERR | May 25, 2021
Today, May 25, 2021, marks the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” were the words he uttered over twenty times while being held face down on the ground for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
Floyd’s death propelled the U.S. more deeply into a racial reckoning. Indeed, the last year has further compelled the Ignatian family to grapple with the legacy of racism in our own network through accountability, action, and, as people of faith, discernment and prayer.
We work within an Ignatian and Catholic landscape that historically, and even today, is often complicit in the sin of racism, both implicitly and explicitly. We know that in working for racial justice, we will, at times, fall short and make missteps, but to fulfill our faith-based social justice mission rooted in the Gospel, we must make this a priority.
Sunday, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, commemorating Jesus breathing on his disciples the power of the Holy Spirit. In his breath, he offered his followers a breath that had the potential to change the world—a breath of hope, a breath of peace, a breath of love, a breath of justice. As we commemorate the unconscionable loss of George Floyd, whose breath was taken away—are we committed to responding to the Pentecost Gospel? Are we willing to be people of love, of peace, hope, and of justice? What will each of us do to build a society where no one’s breath is stolen?
Below, we invite you to explore some of the ways that the Ignatian Solidarity Network and others in the Jesuit network have worked to advance anti-racism in the last year. Please use and share these resources as we work together to respond to the call to dismantle systemic racism, reimagine policing in our communities, and build a more just and equitable society.
We continue to hold in our prayers the family of George Floyd and all who continue to be victimized and traumatized by the impacts of systemic racism.
- 21-Day Ignatian Racial Equity Challenge
Walk with the Jesuit and broader Catholic network as we learn, pray, and take action for racial equity. For 21 days, enter into the complex work of understanding the realities of racial injustice and anti-Blackness in the U.S. Take the Challenge
- Novena for Racial Justice
For nine days, join in prayer with the Novena for Racial Justice, framed in the example of Catholic saints and servants of God who provide a witness and example for us in our work for racial justice. Pray With the Ignatian Family
- Interconnected: 21-Day Environmental Justice Challenge
Join Interconnected—a 21-day environmental justice challenge—and walk with the Ignatian family as we learn, pray, and take action at the intersections of economic, racial, and environmental justice. Join Interconnected
Racial Justice Videos:
- A Balm in Gilead: Deepening our Conversation and Understanding of Race Through the Eyes of Faith (3-Part Series)
Danielle Harrison, Co-Director, Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project
- Olga Segura | Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice
Author: Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church
Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J. | Solidarity on Tap
Author: The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A month of Meditation with Ignatius of Loyola (Anamchara Books, Summer 2021)
- Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi, Ph.D. | Solidarity on Tap
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Educator Conversations on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism
How the Ignatian Family is Responding:
- A Detroit Zoom Immersion: Networking, Collaboration, and Innovation
- Discernment & Racial Justice: A Q&A with Teresa Marie Cariño
- Seattle Parish Partnership Builds Solidarity and Action for Racial Equity
- How to Get Started in Racial Equity Work: Plant a Justice T.R.E.E.E.
- An Examen for White Allies
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.