The United States has experienced tremendous strife over the recent tragic killings of a number of young black men and women, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Satilla Shores, Michael Brown in St. Louis, Sandra Bland in Naperville, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Eric Garner in New York City, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, and many others. We know that this loss of life, often at the hands of the police, stems from systemic racism and white supremacy and are but a small number of the black lives lost throughout our country’s founding and history.
The deaths of these individuals and many others have renewed dialogue about what some have called “America’s original sin of racism.” The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, similarly brought the realities of racism, bigotry, and white supremacy further to the forthright of our nation’s consciousness. Across the country, people from all backgrounds–many of them, especially white people, for the first time–are confronting the destructive legacy wrought by generations of systemic and personal racial discrimination. Most recently the filmed interaction between Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper in Central Park brought to the forefront the “underlying current of racism” and racial power dynamics in the United States today. The protests of the recent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer have sparked the U.S. consciousness on the issues of police brutality, racism, and the dignity of black lives, issues that are ever-present but not always discussed or uplifted in all parts of society.
There are no easy answers, but our faith can be an important lens through which to analyze these realities and that helps us to discern the steps towards social action. The following are resources from a Catholic, Jesuit perspective–including some reflections from communities mentioned above themselves.
This list is not exhaustive; in fact, our hope is that you might share your own resources (articles, exercises, toolkits, book titles, etc.), so that we can add them and develop a more robust collection. Please contact us with your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.