Saturday, June 13, 2020

Statement regarding racial disparity by Kathryn Shea, ARCWP

This is a very difficult time in our country and our world.  The past nearly four months have been highly emotionally and mentally taxing.  First, we are hit with COVID-19, the lockdown, social distancing, home schooling, and then the awful racial unrest and injustice that has occurred in the past several weeks.  It is truly overwhelming.      
As a social activist of many years, I cannot express to you my deep sorrow about all that is transpiring and I personally condemn the killings, injustices, and inequities against Black people that are so apparent today, and that have existed throughout the history of our country.  I lived through the 60’s, a time of great racial division and unrest, and I never thought I would witness anything remotely close to that again.  But, here we are, still fighting the same fight.  It’s not just racial inequity we are fighting, but also health and education inequities.   
I call for all of us to stand in solidarity for peace and social justice.  I call for us stand by and support one other; our beliefs, our different cultures, our different/no religions, and our politics.  We, a Roman Catholic Priest movement  are an inclusive community of equals and we treat each other, and all people,  with respect, reserve judgement, and lend support to each other at all times.  Nothing less is acceptable to our community culture.   
I also want to suggest to all of you that this is a golden opportunity and “Call to Action” to become involved in social justice reform at whatever level you are comfortable.  For some, like me, that does include participating in peaceful protests, social advocacy, letter writing to government officials, speaking out respectfully and taking a stand with family and friends.  I became a social worker because I believe it is important to be a part of social policy reform for those who are marginalized.  I believe this is also an opportunity to have these tough discussions with family and friends.  Most importantly,  we must reach our children and teach them the values of inclusion and acceptance of all people.  Racism is taught and we must work to end the perpetual generations that teach this to their children. 
Change is “messy” and uncomfortable, but a necessary process if we are ever to have lasting peace and justice in our world.  We are hopeful that this time will bring about long overdue and sustainable change. But clearly hope without action is empty, and we all need to work to be a part of the solution for Black people and all people of color.
We all have a responsibility to fulfill our country’s pledge of “with liberty and justice for all”.  I’m so remembering the words of President John F. Kennedy today, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  We are one family and we stand united.  Let’s keep the discussion going.  May God bless each and every one of you and keep you safe.  In unity and solidarity, Kathryn 

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