The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph strongly condemns the continued killing of black people; the constant harassment of people of color; and the denial of the rights and dignity of our Black American neighbors must end now.
As a Federation, we vow to turn our words into precise actions addressing the institutional racism that lives within our institutions and within ourselves. We vow to support criminal justice reforms, including a call for independent bodies that conduct investigations of police misconduct and broad, sweeping reforms to policing, incarceration, and the judicial system.
We call on the people of the United States to work with greater urgency to eliminate the systemic racism that infects the very soul of our nation. For the U.S. Federation, that requires us looking at all of our institutions and introducing guidelines to ensure that we are working to a more just society. This includes an honest look at the hiring and promotion practices at all levels, including the Federation, congregations, our schools, hospitals, and ministries.
As we continue to work to dismantle institutional racism, we are all asked to do the deep, ongoing inner work that anti-racism requires of us. This includes listening to, learning from, supporting, and elevating the Black voices from within our sisters, partners in mission, and more broadly. Below our a list of anti-racism actions for people to begin taking action.
Read Our Statements on Racism
- April 2021: U.S. Federation Responds to the Conviction of Derek Chauvin
- March 2021: U.S. Federation Stands Against the Racism and Misogyny Directed Towards the Asian-American and Pacific Island Communities
- July 2020: Congregations of St. Joseph NGO at the UN Statement on Systemic Racism
- June 2020: U.S. Federation’s Statement on Racism and Commitment to Direct Action
- August 2019: U.S. Federation Resolves to Create Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration & Climate Crisis
- August 2018: U.S. Federation Recommits to Addressing Racism
Addressing racism and white privilege includes listening to, learning from, supporting, and elevating the Black voices from within our sisters, partners in mission, and more broadly. Below are voices from within the Catholic Church:
- The Black Catholic Experience
- National Black Sisters Conference
- National Black Catholic Conference
- Black Catholic Theological Symposium
- Dr. Shannen Dee Williams is the Albert LePage Assistant Professor of History at Villanova University. She is completing her first book, Subversive Habits: The Untold Story of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States. Follow her on social media and read her articles at America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, and U.S. Catholic.
- “If racial justice and peace will ever be attained, it must begin in the church” for Catholic News Service
- “The church must make reparation for its role in slavery, segregation” for National Catholic Reporter
- Fr. Bryan Massingale is one of the world’s leading Catholic social ethicists and scholars of African-American theological ethics, racial justice, and liberation theology. Buy his book, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. You can also read his work in National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic
- The History of Black Catholics in the United States by Cyprian Davis
- Required reading: A Black Catholic syllabus from U.S. Catholic magazine
- “He’s a priest, a former police officer’s son and black. Josh Johnson says ‘God created me for a time such as this'” from The Advocate
- Wilton Gregory on Georgetown panel talks racism and police brutality after George Floyd killing from America Magazine
- Black Catholic Syllabus from Dr. Tia Noelle Pratt, Ph.D.
- M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D., is known for her work in theological anthropology, political theology, and African American Catholic theology. You can find some of her books available here.
- “‘How long, O Lord?’ Psalm 13 is the cry of black Americans” by Fr. Mario Powell, SJ for America Magazine
- Sr. Melinda Pellerin (Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield) did an interview with the Diocese of Springfield, MA on racism
- Being Black and Catholic: A Reflection: Sr. Nicole Trahan, FMI shares her reflections on the challenges of being a Black woman in the Catholic Church and the challenge facing the Church to become truly integrated and anti-racist.
- Catholic Scholars Confront Racism and Describe How Fellow Catholics Can Help
- Religion and Race: The Future of Anti-Racism and the Catholic Church, a conversation hosted by Georgetown University featuring Ogechi Akalegbere, Fr. Robert Boxie, Gerald Smith, Jr., and Dr. Shannen Dee Williams
- “How Can Catholics Help Lead the Fight Against Racism?” by Olga Segura for America Magazine
- “Black Rage in an Anti-Black World is a Spiritual Virtue” by Dante Stewart for Sojourners
- “George Floyd Deserved to Breathe Free” by Rev. Adam Taylor for Sojourners
- “Bryan Stevenson on the Frustration Behind the George Floyd Protests” by Issac Chotiner for The New Yorker
- “The assumptions of white privilege and what we can do about it” by Fr. Bryan N. Massingale for National Catholic Reporter
- Read up on antiracist work including “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad and “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi (while supporting black-owned bookstores).
- Prison Abolition and Alternatives to Incarceration Starter Resources
- “White People, Let’s Do Our Homework” by Heidi Schlumpf for National Catholic Reporter
- People of Color Online Classroom Resources
- NETWORK’s Racial Wealth and Income Gap Workshop
- NETWORK’s Recommit to Racial Justice Guide
- View the movie Just Mercy for free during the month of June
- Free Virtual Screenings of Magnolia Pictures Documentary- Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
- “America, This is Your Chance” by Michelle Alexander for The New York Times
- Reimagining Community Safety from Take Action Minnesota
- What are we talking about when we talk about “a police-free future?” from MPD 150
- “How White Liberals Perpetuate Relational Violence” by Courtney Ariel for Sojourners
- Black Lives Matter: Anti-Racism Resources for Social Workers and Therapists: an extensive guide for both therapists and those outside the profession
- Speak Up: Southern Poverty Law Center provides a series of how to respond to everyday bigotry
- Scaffolding anti-racism resources: The goal of this document is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work. All of these resources have been sourced from other Google docs, or articles.
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People: provides books, websites, social media, movies, podcasts, and more to educate on anti-racism work
- What is White Privilege Really?
- “How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” TEDx talk by Peggy McIntosh
- “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
- Educate yourself on Black Lives Matter, institutionalized racism, and anti-racism work
- “For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies” by Courtney Ariel for Sojourners
- Take an Implicit Bias test
- White Ally Toolkit
- Take action on the 2020 Justice in Policing Act. We have a series of action items listed here.
- Text or Call to demand justice for those killed by police violence and call for reform
- Rethink sharing images and videos of police brutality or protestors on social media, as this can be re-traumatizing to black followers and could put protestors at risk for police retaliation. However, do continue to show your support via your social media platforms, while amplifying black voices.
- Sign NAACP’s petition to demand justice for George Floyd
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice: concrete actions white and non-black individuals can take
- 26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets
- Reforming Policing in America 2020 from Equal Justice Initiative
- A Prayer for a Violent Nation
- Lamentations 5 for 2020
- Keedron Bryant age 12, composed this prayer following the death of George Floyd
- An Examen for White Allies
- A Vigil for Racial Justice, after the murder of George Floyd
- My Arms Are Empty: A Song of Lamentation for Ahmaud Arbery
- Bail funds in your neighborhood and across the country. Research state-wide and local bail funds that will contribute to your community or donate to bail funds that are assisting in areas that have faced extreme police violence in the face of protests
- Black Lives Matter: you can donate to the national organization
- Minnesota Freedom Fund: has a list of resources and ways to get supplies to protesters in need
- Donate to the families of those who have been murdered by police
- Uprising Minnesota: this site features rotating information on how to donate and support the black community in Minnesota and more broadly
- A list of mutual aid, bail funds, memorial funds, and ways to get involved beyond protests
- Follow and donate to your local social justice advocacy organizations, specifically those focused on transformative justice and with black leadership.
- Buy books from Black-owned bookstores in your neighborhood and have them shipped online. You can find some of those stores here.
- Boycott companies that use prison labor