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People of Faith Gather in Detroit for Sacred Conversations on Race
A Black woman wearing a gold hat, a Black man with glasses and a beard, and a white woman with gray hair and glasses sit together at a table and smile at the camera

By Sister Nancyann Turner, OP

February 26, 2024, Detroit – Some 45 people representing eight Catholic parishes, the Synod of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, an elder in the Christian Community Church, and three religious orders met on February 17, 2024, to share conversation and reflection on race.

This was the first of four meetings to be held at different areas within the Archdiocese of Detroit during the next four months. The series is funded in part through a grant from the Capuchin Franciscans, a religious order of men within the Catholic Church.

The series was initiated by the Archdiocese of Detroit Anti-Racism Coalition. Leaders of the day included Adrian Dominican Sister Cheryl Liske, OP; Angela James, Director of the Gamaliel Race and Power Institute; and Minister DeJuan Bland, lead organizer of Detroit’s Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), a community-organizing nonprofit organization that develops strong grassroots leaders and organizes campaigns to address social justice issues.

Adrian Dominican Sisters Ellen Burkhardt, OP, Cheryl Liske, OP, Anneliese Sinnott, OP, and Nancyann Turner, OP, are among the members of the Detroit Anti-Racism Coalition. Steven Wasko of Our Lady Gate of Heaven/St. Suzanne Parish leads this coalition.

The group that met February 17 discussed examples of personal, interpersonal, and institutional racism, but the primary focus of the meeting was on understanding structural and systemic racism and the many places where it exists.

Attendees shared in small groups their reasons for attending this gathering about racism and what they felt was at stake. Each person also set some personal goals for these Sacred Conversations. The closing ritual included the anointing of hands as a sign of continuing this work.  

The next Sacred Conversations on Race is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2024, at St. Mary of the Hills in Rochester Hills, Michigan.


Feature photo at top: Leaders at the first Sacred Conversations on Race discussion are, from left, Angela James, DeJuan Bland, and Sister Chery Liske, OP.

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