PRESS RELEASE: Catholic Organizations Attending A.C.T. to End Racism Rally in DC

Immediate Release

April 3, 2018

Catholic Organizations Attending A.C.T. to End Racism Rally in DC

Washington, DC - The National Council of Churches (NCC) has gathered a coalition of over 50 faith community partners who recognize that those of moral conscience have a specific responsibility and unique gift to address and eliminate racism. Included among these partners are numerous Catholic organizations attending the April 4th A.C.T. to End Racism rally on the National Mall in Washington DC.

This landmark event, held 50 years to the day since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination, is part of a movement to honor his death with a witness to end racism. The Rally is the starting point of a multi-year effort, launched by NCC, to remove racism from the nation's social fabric and bring the country together. Dr. King’s message is still alive, and Catholics are carrying on the work to end racism.

We believe a world without racism is possible even if it seems we have a long way to go. Statistics tell an alarming story of hate crimes and severely lagging economic and social indicators for communities of color. The A.C.T. to End Racism rally and initiative calls for us to reflect on and reconcile past and present injustices and to plot a course forward for racial justice. In our lifetime, we can awaken to reality, confront the need to change, and we can transform.

"50 years since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, and we are still dealing with the deep history of racism in our Catholic Church and our nation. Poverty, racism, and militarism are woven into the fabric of our society keeping us stuck and sick. Black and brown people are disvalued, gunned down, and forgotten, and we’ve been brainwashed to see people of color as statistics or not see them at all. However, we hold the vision of the Beloved Community steeped in active nonviolence where human beings are truly valued. Pax Christi USA hopes for a world that loves people more than violence, equality more than greed, and character more than skin color. We must unravel the yards and years of oppression and create a new way." Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

“Across God’s wondrous and beautiful creation society has made a conscious decision to move away from love and towards hate and fear. The violence and rhetoric against people, either for the color their skin or their religious beliefs, is growing in intensity. We have to stop assigning blame, look inward and commit to change.” Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network

“Sadly, the scourge of racism still stains the soul of our country.  We must respond as a people of faith in a way that is genuine, compassionate and with truth.  As believers in the Risen Christ, we are fully aware of the importance of reconciliation, redemption, and renewal. Our prayers must translate into action on behalf of those who have been victims of benign neglect and willful hatred. May this be the time!” Most Rev. David P. Talley, Bishop of Alexandria, LA and Chair, Subcommittee for Catholic Campaign for Human Development

"Dr. King spoke forcefully about the "fierce urgency of now", but even as we mark 50 years since his assassination we have yet to see the dream realized.  We have come a long way and can celebrate many accomplishments towards the end of racism, but we must also remain vigilant.  We have tragically witnessed a resurgence of the most blatant types of racism in the public sphere and we know that the hidden seeds of racism are planted deeply and must be uprooted.  Let's lift our voices now and contribute to a world where no one race is exclusively normative and all races contribute to the rich beauty of humanity.  The dream still has its time.... now!" Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, KY, Bishop President of Pax Christi USA

“The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is honored to join the National Council of Churches in its efforts to confront our nation’s original sin. We condemn racism in all its harmful forms whether the violent acts of white supremacist organizations or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.

We grieve with all whose dignity is threatened by hate and violence. We lament the racism that continues to afflict our communities and threaten the values that we hold dear. We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism and we commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of this evil. We promise to pray for our country and to continue to use our voice and our energy to build God’s beloved community.” Carole Shinnick, SSND, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

“It is wrong that our societal laws structures continue to marginalize people of color! Black men and women are fatally shot and all communities of color are frequently denied access to justice. Immigrants are fearful to participate in our society, even though they are integral parts of our communities. Fear and discrimination is tearing our nation a part. This must stop!

Our faith teaches us that we are each imbued with dignity as a “child of God.” It is time we started acting like this profound truth. Rooted in this basic principle we must work together to end the systems of discrimination and white privilege. The time is now! Let us journey together towards an inclusive justice that our faith and nation demand.” Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Visuals:

On April 4th at 7am, Catholic rally participants will be gathering at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial by the bookstore at 1850 West Basin Drive SW, Washington, DC. There will be a silent march from that point to the rally staging area between 14th St. SW and 12th St. SW.

The rally is open to all people of faith and moral conscience. To learn more about the rally, visit: www.rally2endracism.org.

 

Participating Organizations include (Alphabetically):

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Franciscan Action Network

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Pax Christi, USA

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

The Stuart Center of the Society of the Sacred Heart

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

 

###

Section: