Our prayers are with George Floyd and his family.  Our prayers are also with our nation as we mourn the loss of Mr. Floyd and so many other people of color who have been injured or killed because of the color of their skin.  Our nation has a long and terrible history of racism, and that is still so apparent today.  As an agency dedicated to social justice and strengthening individuals and families, we must look inwardly to examine our actions and beliefs to assure we are doing all we can to address structural racism in our work.  We must also reach out to our community, the people we serve and work with, and join hands to build connection, community, understanding, and hope for the future.  This work will be difficult. It will require our community, partners, and our own agency to take a deep and honest look at our own work, accept criticism, and make changes. However, the challenge of this work pales in comparison to the challenges and injustices faced everyday by community members of color.

Our work at Catholic Social Services focuses on poverty, another discriminating factor that separates people on so many levels – those who have and those who do not.  When you have experienced poverty and lived large portions of your life in poverty, it influences your choices, as well as your health.  You start behind the line in every competition, and race and poverty are inextricably linked.

Catholic Social Services, and our nation, has work to do. Today, we mourn for Mr. Floyd and so many others.  We cry for his daughter, and our children and for all the children.  They are burdened with a world in crisis. Today we must start the change. We must do our part to listen to people who have been silenced because of their race or their income or any other discriminatory factor.  We need to keep our hearts and minds open to change and truly advocate for social justice, and dignity and respect for all humans.

We appreciate your partnership and strong support of our work. Thank you for working with us to understand, listen, learn, and grow towards a more just world.

“Systemically, we must unmask social evil and, like prophets, denounce injustice. We must eradicate overt and covert racism.  This requires solidarity with those suffering from disadvantages woven into society and our self-perceptions. For John Paul II, this solidarity is “not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people.  On the contrary it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good…”

                                                           – Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J., J. D.

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