The Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa call on our country to deal with the systemic racism that was evidenced by the murder of George Floyd. 8 minutes and 46 seconds! That’s how long three police officers stood guard as Officer Derek Chauvin suffocated George Floyd to death. Our hearts are breaking as we mourn with his family and friends, and with all who have lost loved ones to law enforcement violence, all who live in fear, and all whose dignity is threatened. The continued killing of black women and men, the constant harassment of people of color, and the denial of rights must end now. We are also saddened that the Marshallese, African American, and Latino communities are disproportionately experiencing the effects of COVID-19. We oppose the systemic racism that has perpetuated these evils.
Racism has infected our nation since its founding. Until we address it, people of color will continue to die and our nation will not heal. Racism, whether institutional which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of hate and discrimination, diminishes us all. Racism disregards the profound truth that all are created in the image and likeness of God. Every person is entitled to dignity and respect.
As women religious, we acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We ask forgiveness of our sisters and brothers of color, and we pray for our nation’s healing. We know that is not enough! It is time for bold, decisive action! We pledge to raise our voices and act courageously to address racism; we are called to live in right relationship and work towards creating a just and moral society. We are committed to the practice of peace and non-violence to transform hearts and minds. It is time to dismantle white privilege and rededicate ourselves to building God’s beloved community.