by Sr Julie Myers, OSF
Does anyone out there feel like our world has gone mad? Are you struggling as much as I am to make sense of a reality that seems so unreal?
Consider the news. Daily we listen to disturbing stories of a growing number of families experiencing the pain and reality of poverty; the brokenness of our current political system with corruption and greed, government officials more focused on personal power and gain than over the protection and care of the American people and its systems; a pandemic that has struck every corner of our world with a vengeance; innocent people being harassed and killed because of the color of their skin, ethnicity or sexual orientation; fewer people owning a particular faith tradition or Church affiliation; and the list goes on.
This disheartening news reveals how really broken our world is becoming. But of everything in the news these days, the most disturbing to me is the true reality of racism in our country.
I must confess that when hearing the mantra “Black Lives Matter” over the past year, I was one who often responded with “All Lives Matter”! Listening to the news and reading the paper I was so disturbed by the growing prejudice against Muslims because of the Iraqi conflict, the Native American over issues of land rights, the escalating effort to keep Mexican immigrants out of America, the oppression of women.
I did not understand the cry of the black people until our country actually witnessed the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by two white men on February 23, and then just a few months later the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25. Two priceless lives senselessly ended because of hate. They were someone’s brother, son, husband, nephew, friend. They did matter!!
Their deaths were not in vain nor did their story fall silent like so many others. Their deaths opened conversations and retold stories of harassment and abuse, fear and isolation, discrimination and hatred. More names of black men and women who were wrongly accused, wrongly murdered because of the color of their skin are surfacing. Our eyes are beginning to open and our hearts are broken as the anger spills into the streets!
Racial inequality still exists in the 21st Century. Segregation still exists, maybe not so blatantly as in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s but it seeps into so many systems, mentation and behaviors. A person’s race does not define his/her character and quality, only life’s experiences can do that! We must stop categorizing people because of the color of their skin or where they’ve come from and take time to get to know them.
What can I do? What can you do to create change, to impact our little corner of the world? How can our changed behaviors stop the racial hate that is so suffocating?
Slow your life down to really care… look into different eyes…listen to a different truth… begin a different conversation.
We say “black lives matter”! Today, let the proof be in our actions and behaviors.