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May 7, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – In anticipation of the National John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day on Saturday, May 8, 2021, we Adrian Dominican Sisters endorse the joint statement issued by the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on the critical importance of ensuring that all people – no matter race, zip code, economic status – enjoy the sacred right to vote.
As women of faith and faithful Americans, we believe that all people have the right and obligation to participate fully in our democracy. The National Black Sisters Conference (NBSC) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) strongly oppose all attempts to restrict that participation by limiting the sacred right to vote. The strength and vibrancy of our democracy is dependent on the right of all people to vote regardless of their race, zip code, economic status, or party affiliation.
Our country has a long racist history when it comes to voting. From the end of the 19th Century to 1965, “Jim Crow Laws” systematically kept blacks from the ballot box. Violence, rigged literacy tests, property tests, grandfather clauses and more were used to deny people of color access to democracy’s most fundamental right, the right to cast their ballot. That right is under attack once again.
Our brothers and sisters struggled, some gave their lives, to secure the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It falls to us to continue their work. Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium that our vocation as Catholic sisters is inherently political: “We are all called to participate in public life…. Authentic faith always involves a deep desire to change the world…. We cannot remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”
We must call out elected officials, at every level, who continue to introduce measures that would return us to the era of “Jim Crow.” They are celebrating our dark past by enacting laws that limit participation and threaten our democracy. We pledge to oppose them at every turn, and we promise to support legislation that will ensure all people can exercise their precious right to vote.
It is long past time we established national standards for voting to ensure all of us have a voice in decisions that affect our lives and protect our common home. We call on the Senate to immediately take up the For the People Act and we call on members of both the house and Senate to introduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
National Black Sisters Conference
Sister Anita Baird, DHM
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM — Director of Communications
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council are Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor.
May 5, 2021, Washington, D.C. – Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, recently received the John Carroll Medal from the John Carroll Society in recognition of her “mission-driven life,” most recently as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. Sister Donna was also the keynote speaker at the Society’s annual awards ceremony, held virtually.
Founded in 1951 and named after the first Catholic bishop in the United States, the John Carroll Society is an “organization of Catholic professionals united in their desire for an ever deepening and enriching knowledge of their Faith and in service to the Archbishop of Washington,” according to its website.
“God has led me to sacred places of the hearts and psyches of many, many, suffering people,” Sister Donna said in her keynote address. “These people have been my teachers.”
Read the entire article, written by Lynnea Mumola and published in The Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.