As a white woman I do not have the adequate words to explain how the Black community is feeling right now. So I wish to share some words of both mine and others, to hopefully bring to light different viewpoints and perspectives and create a place for healing and understanding. May we hear one another. May we listen. May we let the words change our hearts and guide our actions.
If I could but carry your cross…
How am I supposed to put words
to the pain that you feel?
I don’t know what it’s like,
But I wish I could take some
of the burden away from you.
Can I help you carry the cross?
Like Simon helped Jesus?
I will do everything I can.
I’ll read, I’ll watch, I’ll listen.
I’ll let your words change my heart and actions.
And tell others to do so as well.
I’ll sign petitions, I’ll vote, I’ll learn.
I will have hard conversations.
I will be open to discomfort,
And know that it will never be enough
To take your pain away.
But I will continue to walk with you.
Continue to be your Simon.
In hopes that some day
It won’t have to be this way.
Two voices have stayed with me, the first being Debbie Sims, a mom and parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Bridgeport:
“How do we move on…we can’t. George Floyd’s murder broke all our hearts. It is a call to action, a call to protect the Black Community, the official catalyst for change for our country. What do we do? As an African American Mom, here is what I had to do: I had to sit down with my Black son, nephews and community sons once again and go over the rules of what to do when stopped by the police. I begged them to pray because being obedient is not enough. Even though their physical life is in the hands of the officers, the Lord has the final say. George’s murder is just one incidence that the world saw, injustices like that happen every day in our communities. I’m scared to death of sending my son outside because I’m fearful of the unknown of what lies ahead for him. Last week we hosted a conversation with moms, all hurting because George was everyone’s son, we are all outraged, disgusted, but hopeful. Psalm 139 is all about the characteristics of God. It brings me lots of comfort…we are never alone! As a people we will endure systematic racism, hatred, economic disinvestment, food, health and housing inequities, but it is not okay. ‘America…land of the free’ home of George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor and all people, because Christ our Lord said so!”
The second is our very own Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport. In his most recent Let Me Be Frank podcast, the bishop and Steve Lee of Veritas Radio discussed the troubling events going on around us these days and what we can do to work for a better society.
“We have structures in society that judge people by the color of their skin or the language they speak that do not allow them the same opportunities as others. The first step in any societal change is the conversion of my own heart. Before I worry about anyone else’s heart, or society, what about me? What about when I look in the mirror? Do I consider everyone equal? Do I have racist tendencies or bigotry tendencies or discriminatory tendencies in the way I speak, the way I act, the people I deal with, how I spend my money? Am I willing to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what do I believe?’ in the end and how do I live? Do I actually live what I claim to believe when it comes to justice and equality and fairness? Because if I don’t then I am contributing to the problem, I am in fact part of the problem. Because racial equality and equal opportunity is not just something society wants because it’s a human good—it is a divine mandate. It’s what the Savior taught us. And if we are going to claim Him as out Lord and Savior and have the same title He had, being a Christian following Christ the Lord, then don’t you think that it’s our own faith that should motivate us to change? And if it does not change us then our faith is not what we’re claiming it to be.” (To listen to the full Let Me Be Frank podcast visit our diocesan social media channels).
By: Elizabeth Clyons, Fairfield County Catholic