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A Call to Respect Human Life and Reject Racism

Much as we were tired of hearing of COVID-19 on the news, we never imagined that it would be replaced with the horrors we have witnessed in the last week beginning with the death of George Floyd to the riots and looting of the past few days. From sheltering at home to be safe from the virus, we have gone to several days of mandatory curfews throughout cities and the county of Los Angeles. Ramona is a ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Names and for this reason we share this public statement that the SNJM Leadership Team has published in the name of all of us.

We can hardly find words to express our horror at witnessing George Floyd beg for air as a Minneapolis policeman restrained him by kneeling on his neck until he died.

As Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary of the U.S.-Ontario Province, we join with those who condemn this outrageous act against a restrained and helpless black man.

We stand with those who advocate for the dignity and respect of every human life. We strongly reject the racism and hatred reflected in this action.

While we support peaceful protests against rampant racism, we condemn the destruction of property and the harming of persons involved. We call on our president and all leaders to exert moral influence by promoting peaceful means to deter the violence happening in so many cities.

We grieve with and for the families, friends and black communities that have endured so many traumatic killings and for whom George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor's deaths are yet another harsh reminder of repeated injustice. We pray for urgently needed reforms in our society and our hearts, so that we may learn to live Jesus' message to "love one another."

Over the last months of dealing with COVID-19, we've heard over and over "We're in this together". Now is the time for us to repeat that pledge as we work for a change in our society – a change that calls for us to:

  • Stand together to promote acceptance and kindness.
  • Stand up to bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and violence.
  • Stand up for each individual in our diverse community.

Each of us teachers, parents, and students can do this in our own way, in our own work, or social circles. Together we have been working to combat the virus, we need to work together to combat the disease of racism, discrimination, and bigotry in whatever form they take.