Around the Web: Articles on Racial Justice and Reform

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

It’s Not Enough to Preach Racial Justice. We Need to Champion Policy Change. by Esau McCaulley: “As pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders who participate in America’s public square, we don’t remember King rightly by pulling a few disconnected words about justice out of context and plastering them all over social media. We remember him rightly by taking an honest assessment of ourselves as a country. This involves both lauding the progress and looking toward the future. And it involves a robust commitment to understanding the link between injustice and economic disenfranchisement.”

The Forgotten History of Black Prohibitionism by Mark Lawrence Schrad: “America’s most vocal prohibitionists weren’t privileged white evangelicals, but its most marginalized and disenfranchised communities: women, Native Americans and African Americans. Indeed, temperance and prohibitionism worked hand-in-glove with other freedom movements—abolitionism and suffragism—that fought against the entrenched system of domination and subordination. Consequently, nearly every major Black abolitionist and civil rights leader before World War I—from Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany and Sojourner Truth to F.E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington—endorsed temperance and prohibition.”

Stories of Slavery, From Those Who Survived It by Clint Smith: “Recently, I’ve become convinced of the need for a large-scale effort to document the lives of people who lived through America’s southern apartheid; who left the land their families had lived on for generations to make the Great Migration to the North and West; who were told they were second-class citizens and then lived to see a person who looked like them ascend to the highest office in the land. Their stories exist in our living rooms, on our front porches, and on the lips of people we know and love. But too many of these stories remain untold, in many cases because no one has asked.”

‘The Separate and Unequal Health System’ Highlighted By COVID-19 by Leila Fadel: “But at this hospital in Willowbrook, an unincorporated part of South L.A. neighboring Compton and Watts, the pandemic is preying on the inequities that disproportionately hurt Latino and Black communities. The neighborhoods are densely populated and multiple generations of families live together, making it hard to isolate. It’s a place where most people are on public health insurance and where chronic illnesses are much more prevalent because there is a systemic lack of access to quality health care. Add COVID-19 to that mix and it’s a deadly but predictable disaster.”

Why every Catholic should make a pilgrimage to Elmina Castle in Ghana by Shannen Dee Williams: “For more than 300 years, hundreds of thousands of kidnapped and enslaved Africans traveled through Elmina on their way to America’s slave societies. At the height of the slave trade, approximately 30,000 enslaved Africans passed through Elmina annually where they encountered a host of European traders, priests, soldiers and families who denied their humanity and subjected them to unspeakable acts of trauma and violence.”

The Magazine That Helped 1920s Kids Navigate Racism by Anna Holmes: “The express purpose of The Brownies’ Book was to show children that being Black is normal in a world determined to convince them that it was not. But to say that Black childhood was normal was not to say that it was the same as white childhood.”

A hole in the heart of antiracism training by Chloé Valdary: “To transform external, systemic structures that teem with racism, what is needed is for folks to see the whole human being with all of her complexities, idiosyncrasies, and intricacies.”


When I Held My Son for the First Time, I Caught a Glimpse of God’s Joyful Love of Each Person

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Millennial writer Marcus Mescher writes:

I’ll never forget the first time I held my son. After a long and difficult labor, his heart rate dropped and we nearly lost him. A traumatic birth twisted his head and neck, causing him great pain. After a round of tests and being tightly swaddled, his face was beet red from screaming. He looked terrified and helpless. The instant I cradled him in my arms, my heart swelled. I felt like the Grinch listening to Christmas carols coming from Whoville (whose heart grows three sizes); I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest, erupting in sheer delight for this precious child. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much love. In that moment, I had an epiphany: This is exactly what God feels for each and every person: unconditional love, infinite joy, endless pride.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to put ourselves in touch with God who ceaselessly delights in us and whose will is realized through us. We pray to participate in the personal and social transformation ignited by this truth.

Take a moment to bask in God’s abundant, steadfast love for you.


The Ethics of Encounter is Everything Writing on Catholic Social Teaching Should Be

Maria Power writes:

In Marcus Mescher’s The Ethics of Encounter, we have an excellent example of how Francis’s teachings should be put into practice….

In five substantive chapters, he guides us through the practice of the ethics of encounter. He starts, as Catholic social teaching expects, by defining the problem, showing how American society is more divided than it has ever been—in part as a result of the ‘networked self’ resulting from digital technology. The second chapter, in common with Fratelli Tutti, offers a meditation on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable guides us through the theology of neighbour that underpins the ethic of encounter. Mescher shows us how we can use the religious or prophetic imaginary to discern how to meet Christ in the other. The third chapter takes Gustavo Gutiérrez’s emphasis on friendship as its basis because ‘Gutiérrez’s emphasis on friendship provides a practical framework for assessing the moral demands of solidarity’ (p. 22). Chapter four deals with the virtues necessary to practice the ethics of encounter. These include courage, mercy, generosity, and humility. The final chapter uses the case study of Father Greg Boyle SJ’s Homeboy Industries to show how individuals and communities can be transformed by encounters which acknowledge the God-given dignity of every human being. Through the use of such a case study we are shown how even those believed to live on the extreme edges of society can be transformed by God’s love.

The Ethics of Encounter is everything writing on Catholic social teaching should be. It is grounded in the gospel, the Magisterium, and the lived experience of the kind of mercy that can truly transform lives. This book provides a method that can, and should be, replicated in other contexts, such as the United Kingdom.


Shining a Light on Assad’s Many Crimes Against Humanity

via CBS News:

The images you are about to see are the honest evidence of the greatest war crimes of the 21st century. President Biden and his national security team will soon face a horror that erupted a decade ago, when many of them were in the Obama administration. March will bring the 10th anniversary of the popular uprising that began Syria’s civil war. The Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, has gassed the innocent, bombed hospitals and schools, and made thousands disappear. The evidence is hard to watch but it should be seen. Many risked their lives to tell this story so that — even if Assad is never arrested — he will be, forever, handcuffed to the truth.


How to Build a Culture That Respects the Dignity of All People

Jeannie Gaffigan is a writer, director, producer, best-selling author, and philanthropist—as well as a great champion of life, human dignity, and protecting the vulnerable. In this episode, she discusses her decision to endorse Joe Biden, how whole life Biden voters should approach his presidency, her experience as a mother of five children, her time working on the Jim Gaffigan Show, and her book “When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People” on her experience with a pear-sized brain tumor.

Co-hosts Kristen Day and Robert Christian discuss the opportunities and challenges whole life advocates may face with Joe Biden in office, reflect upon the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol, and look at how whole life candidates performed in the 2020 elections.

It can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and below. You can support the show here: support.democratsforlife.org/product/2E…ife-rising


President Biden Reestablishing White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Christopher White writes:

President Joe Biden will reestablish the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, an office he pledges will serve a critical role in addressing COVID-19 recovery and systemic racism.

Melissa Rogers, who previously led the office from 2013 to 2017 during President Barack Obama’s second term, will serve as its executive director, while Josh Dickson, who led faith outreach for Biden during the 2020 campaign, will serve as deputy director. Trey Baker, who led African American engagement during the campaign and is currently a White House senior advisor for public engagement, will serve as the office’s liaison to Black communities….

In announcing the reestablishment of the office, Biden sought to emphasize its history of bipartisan work and collaboration.

“There are not Democrats or Republicans dying from this pandemic, or losing their jobs, going hungry and facing eviction in this economic crisis, or facing the sting of systemic racism or the brunt of the climate crisis,” Biden said in a statement. “They are fellow human beings. They are fellow Americans. And this is not a nation that can, or will, simply stand by and watch the suffering around us. That is not who we are. That is not what faith calls us to be.”

In the statement, Biden said he was reestablishing the office “to work with leaders of different faiths and backgrounds who are the frontlines of their communities in crisis and who can help us heal, unite, and rebuild.”…

Following the announcement, Stephen Schneck, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, praised the reestablishment of the office and its new appointments.

“I know both Melissa Rogers and Josh Dickson and they are utterly terrific appointments,” he told NCR via email. “Melissa is one more sure and professional hand at the reins in President Biden’s White House. Josh proved his mettle in managing the faith outreach of President Biden’s campaign. Faith outreach in a campaign is a trial by fire and Josh did a superb job.”