Last week, our Province Leadership Team in St. Paul, Minnesota, sent a letter to their local elected and church officials in the wake of the fatal arrest of George Floyd. Their letter was also published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Their letter reads:
Sadness, frustration and anger are but a few of the disquieting emotions resulting from the egregious fatal arrest of George Floyd of Minneapolis. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” wrote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Again we feel the pain that the use of violent force is wreaking.
We urge elected officials and the entire community to boldly address ways in which we demean or deny people their human dignity and rights. We implore our law enforcement agencies to pursue realistic alternatives to the use of deadly force. We support police training that places, as its overarching principle, respect for every individual in order to reduce the dangerous fear experienced by and of law enforcement. Let us act in ways that demonstrate that all lives, indeed Black lives, matter.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet pray for the family of George Floyd, for all those struggling with his senseless death, the officers who must live with the results of their actions, and for the entire community. As a women’s religious community, we are impelled also to seek greater awareness of Whiteness and ways in which we contribute to the systems of oppression and division. We want to see all systems honestly and boldly address root causes of injustices. We are “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” again revealing systemic injustice causing indescribable suffering to all and disproportionately to our Black brothers and sisters.
Today, the Congregational Leadership Team sent the following letter to the province leadership team in St. Paul thanking them for speaking out:
We are writing to thank you for the letter you sent to the St. Paul and Minneapolis mayors and elected officials and to Archbishop Hebda about the murder of George Floyd and the deeply-rooted injustices that led to it. We were fortunate to be on the list of people who received the text of the letter. You could not have expressed the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet position better. We pray with you that your voice, our voice, will make a difference as the people of the Twin Cities try to recover from the trauma of this last week and move forward to a more inclusive community.
Congratulations also on having your letter printed in the May 29 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. We know how rooted in St. Paul the CSJs are. Your words brought comfort to people and also supported them in peaceful and constructive action.
Our work on the chapter directions is just beginning. Your letter identifies racism as a system of oppression which we need to acknowledge and root out in ourselves so that we can walk together with all the citizens in our cities. We look forward to going deeper and journeying farther with you.