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In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.
From January 2021 through June of 2023, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.
In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022. He shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit and educates on topics of equity and inclusion.
I recently watched a video of a college lecture. The students were listening intently to the professor and in mid-sentence the professor stopped and singled out one female student. He spoke directly to her and told her to get up and leave his classroom and never return. After some protest, she gathered her books and left the classroom. The professor continued with his lecture as if nothing happened.
A little while later he asked the students if they thought what happened to the expelled student was unfair. Several students spoke up and said what he did was unfair and unprovoked. He then asked why they chose to stay silent in the presence of injustice and the room went quiet. The professor then answered his own question. He explained that when in the presence of injustice we often choose not to speak up because we rationalize that it has nothing to do with us, it is not our business. He went on to explain that any injustice in our presence is our business. We must speak up because any one of us could be the next target.
How do we stand up and speak out for those around us? As we celebrate Pride Month I started looking into the injustices poured onto this community, and it would appear we are not saying enough.
As I delve into the statistics surrounding violence against the LGBTQ+ community, I can't help but feel a deep sense of sadness and outrage. It pains me to see that in a world that prides itself on progress and equality, countless individuals still face discrimination, prejudice, and violence simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. When I think about hate crimes committed against LGBTQ+ individuals, I am filled with a mixture of anger and disbelief. These acts of violence are not mere numbers; they represent deeply affected human lives:
· In 2019, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program reported a staggering 4,927 hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity bias in the United States alone. Each of these incidents reflects the physical and emotional pain endured by LGBTQ+ individuals.
· The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reported a 20% increase in hate violence-related homicides targeting LGBTQ+ individuals in 2020. The fact that these numbers continue to rise is a stark reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
· Transgender individuals, especially transgender women of color, face a disproportionately higher risk of fatal violence. In 2020, at least 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were murdered, making it the deadliest year on record in the United States. Each life lost represents a devastating loss for their communities and loved ones.
So many beautiful souls are harassed, beaten, and killed simply because of how they identify. If we truly value life, then silence is not an option. We must speak up and speak out against ANY community member targeted by violence. If not, we are just like the students in that lecture hall who choose to look down and not speak out because it didn’t personally involve them. Let’s work to show up and speak out and continue working to make our campuses a safe place for all.
Learn more about the present-day realities of bullying, harassment, discrimination, and stigmatization at these sites:
GLSEN's National School Climate Survey
The Trevor Project
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) Reports
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Black Catholic Project posts
Hofmann's Equity & Inclusion posts
All blog posts
Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)
Black Catholic History page by Seattle University
Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress
Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series
News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois