Our Statement on the George Floyd Demonstrations
Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice (CSPJ) recognizes the
death of George Floyd as an act of senseless violence that sheds light on some of the many problems we face as a society. CSPJ also hears the sentiment from the numerous demonstrations that occurred this past weekend in American cities. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called riots “the language of the unheard” and we hear the cry calling for justice.
Our Catholic faith calls us to recognize the dignity of all people, and we strive in the Diocese of Cleveland to enact this inherent principle through our collaborative work. CSPJ echoes the voices of the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote in a recent statement "Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice. While it is expected that we will plead for peaceful non-violent protests, and we certainly do, we also stand in passionate support of communities that are understandably outraged. Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life." It is part of CSPJ’s mission “to build just relationships which lead to a lasting peace.”
It is in that spirit that we offer some actions and practices that can be done in collaboration as schools and students:
Practice “10 Minutes for Justice” each day at 12:10 where you spend 10 minutes in prayerful meditation on promoting racial justice
Educate yourself on the topics and groups you can support that also further the cause of justice in an effective and nonviolent manner. Know that support comes in many forms whether it be action, time or money. Please make sure any plan or involvement allows for health and safety guidelines during this COVID-19 pandemic
Be mindful of your social media posts and presence online. Providing information and raising awareness in a meaningful way can be effective for change; expressing only an opinion in anger or ignorance can be detrimental and unhelpful. Social Media platforms have value as communication engines, but must be used responsibly and thoughtfully to promote positive actions of change and support.
Discuss creative, meaningful ideas with your friends and your school for virtual events and purposeful projects that follow safety standards and social-distancing guidelines. Look for ideas from our CSPJ Schools that may help to brainstorm ideas for your own community and environment
See what actions you can do safely. If you are old enough, register to vote. Learn about what different candidates support what causes and look into helping those you feel will further Catholic Social Teaching. Write to your local and state representatives to express your ideas and requests, and to ask questions about their focus and efforts. Serve in a local community that suffers from injustice or is in need because of this systemic issue. Learn as much as you can about the history, facts, and effects of racial injustice and share that information in an appropriate way in your school community. Positive change begins with us.
As a network, Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice promises to continue the work we began in 2002 and communicate to our schools ways we can work together. Be safe and be ready.
Resources are available here: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/”
--Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice Leadership Team