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Statement of the Central Board and Social Justice Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy." Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis

"Following in the footsteps of Jesus, we commit ourselves to examine the root causes of injustice and our own complicity as congregations, and to work to effect systemic change as we struggle to establish economic justice, abolish modern-day slavery, ensure immigrant rights, promote nonviolence, and protect Earth and its biosphere. We pledge prayer, education, and advocacy and commit to using our collective voice, resources, and power in collaboration with others to establish justice which reflects God's abundant love and desire that all may have life." (LCWR Resolution, Assembly 2015)

The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis' Central Board and Social Justice Committee mourn for the loss of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the 5 Dallas Police Officers. Violence is never the answer. As Franciscans, we plead for a time of peace and reconciliation.

So we ask ourselves what caused the events the week of July 4. What are the systems that need to be changed? According to a statement by SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) "A system that brutalizes people of color communities and destroys the lives even of those who are enforcing it, is not a sustainable system, a moral system, nor a system that can serve the kind of world in which ALL people are valued and cherished." (July 8, 2016)

  • Why are semi-automatic weapons deemed appropriate civilian weapons?
  • The sniper in Dallas was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. What mental health services are available for these veterans?
  • How are police trained in de-escalation when dealing with people of color? In a sad twist, Dallas appears to be a police force that took this seriously.
  • Who does our economic system benefit? Who are its casualties?
  • How can we deconstruct racism in our country?
  • Can we become more civil in our political discourse?

"One important element in breaking the pattern of racism is to address white privilege. A key step a white ally might begin with is to recognize that racism is not an act but a system. A system that modifies perception so that, by default, white behavior is innocuous and black behavior is suspicious. Whites, even those who can identify with blacks on a class level or who have themselves not done anything overtly racist, are still receiving benefits and imposing burdens from the culture of racism. But, just as people created racism, it can be deconstructed." 8th Day Center for Justice

We encourage our sisters, associates and friends to take the following steps:

  • Work to challenge the attitudes in your own heart.
  • Work to challenge the violence in our society.
  • Really listen to the voices of people of color and hear their realities.
  • Step in when someone makes a racist statement.
  • Call for the banning of semi-automatic weapons.

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