We are heartbroken by the recent senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black lives taken by policing gone wrong and other racial violence. We also acknowledge the unimaginable pain of all our Black neighbors as they endure discrimination and harassment; wealth, health and housing inequities; and other denials of rights and dignity. It is appalling and shameful that this continues in 2020.

This has been a particularly painful period of trauma and grief for Black communities – from the pandemic, to the economic crisis, to this latest series of attacks. As Sisters of Providence, it is our calling to walk in compassion with those who are suffering, to care for those who are marginalized and unheard, to advocate for social justice, and to be the face of Providence for all of God’s people. To our Black neighbors, we hear your cries, and as we pledge to you our support, we also recognize that change begins with people like us.

We appeal to every person of privilege to begin or persist in the difficult work of self-reflection and soul-searching on our roles in contributing to racist actions and systems, no matter how well-meaning or unintended they may be. As women religious, we ask for grace from our sisters and brothers of color as we reflect, learn and awaken to the possibilities.

In prayer, we call on Our Mother of Sorrows to comfort the grieving families and friends of George, Breonna, Ahmaud and all the victims of racial injustice. We pray for our nation’s enlightenment and healing. And we ask God to open our eyes and hearts to our sacred human connectedness so that we all may be transformed.

In collaboration with thousands of Catholic sisters through the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), as well as the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center and other ecumenical and interfaith organizations, we stand in solidarity with all who have been impacted by racism. We unite with the LCWR in stating: “It is time for bold, decisive action. We pledge to raise our voices and to act now to end this scourge, which has cost us so dearly. It is long past time to dismantle white privilege and rededicate ourselves to building God’s beloved community.”

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash