Vincentian Statement On Racism
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40)
We are living in a very challenging time, and, as we reflect on the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, we can by our Faith response turn this into a “Sacred Time”.
We feel the injustice of their deaths and the pain of their families. These events have brought to light many unjust disparities for Black Americans and other People of Color. We know that the main culprit is RACISM. Racism is an evil that kills the hopes and dreams and lives of People of Color.
As Vincentians of the Eastern Province, we recognize that this is our time to let the light of Christ’s love shine in our world. This is our time to be a voice that proclaims justice for all peoples. Our time calls us to a faith to see people as God sees them and to act at making the communities where we live and work more fair and just for all. We cannot remain silent. Silence allows the forces of sinful racism to flourish. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are only three in the long list of many Blacks that have been killed in America. Over these many years while the names of the victims of the sin of racism have changed, the color of the victims has not. It is time for the Vincentians to say unequivocally, Black Lives Matter to Jesus and to us.
As Vincentians, we denounce all forms of racism that have been woven into the fabric of America for over 400 years, both individualized acts of racism as seen in these tragic unjust deaths and the more subtle institutionalized racism which daily affects millions of Black Men and Women in the United States. This systemic racism has crushed the life giving breath of freedom and justice and destroyed livelihoods for so many of our Black brothers and sisters in this country.
We recognize most humbly and profoundly the sin of systemic racism that exists not only in our society, but in the hearts of so many of us. We seek God’s mercy as we beg forgiveness from our brothers and sisters whom we have harmed by our lack of concern and even sometimes our aggressive bad will. We strive after the grace to correct our ways of thinking and acting. We ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit in establishing rules and practices that begin to restore wholeness in the midst of all the damage that we have done. May God grant us the grace to change our habits, to recognize privilege for what it is, and to make real amends.
We pledge our prayers and our support in helping to overcome any acts of individual racism. We promise that we will no longer remain silent. Silence takes the breath from our spirits. We will fight against systemic racism and environmental racism, for these are heavy burdens daily placed on the necks of our Black brothers and sisters.
We, as Vincentians, are called to work with and for the poor and abandoned, and we will fight against the sin of racism. We know that with God’s help we can all be one and everyone can breathe the life-giving Spirit of Justice and Freedom for all. We invite all members of the Vincentian Family to make this commitment today.