February 1

February is African American History Month

Reflection 

Racism …divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism …says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races. It is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. It mocks the words of Jesus: “Treat others the way you would have them treat you.”  Indeed, racism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.
USCCB, Brothers and Sisters to Us

Prayer

“God of peace enable our society to honor and appreciate the dignity of all people. This February, bless all who, in the spirit of Black History Month, seek to bring Your world together, rather than to tear it apart. Thank you for all the lives they have touched. Heal those who harbor hatred against any of their brothers and sisters because of race. Teach us to live together in peace and mutual respect now and always. Amen.”

Action

Let us try to influence the attitudes of others by expressly rejecting racial stereotypes, racial slurs and racial jokes and influencing the members of our families, especially the children, to be sensitive to the authentic human values and cultural contributions of each racial group in our country. Personally, let us educate ourselves to specific contributions of African Americans to our society. Let us be grounded in the understanding that we are all one. Politically, let us see through the veiled (and sometimes overt) language that appeals to the basest ideologies of people and reject it and those who propagate it.

Read the entire text of Brothers and Sisters to Us available on Google.

Suggested Reading

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
1 John 4:20

How great the scandal given by racist Catholics who make the Body of Christ, the Church, a sign of racial oppression! Yet all too often the Church in our country has been for many a “white Church,” a racist institution.
Each of us as Catholics must acknowledge a share in the mistakes and sins of the past. Many of us have been prisoners of fear and prejudice. We have preached the Gospel while closing our eyes to the racism it condemns. We have allowed conformity to social pressures to replace compliance with social justice.
But past mistakes must not hinder the Church’s response to the challenges of the present.
USCCB, Brothers and Sisters to Us

Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.
Muhammad Ali

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.
Kofi Annan

Have a vision. Be demanding.
Colin Powell, the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State

Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.
Dr. Mae Jemison, first African American female astronaut

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
Thurgood Marshall, first African American on the U.S. Supreme Court

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
Booker T. Washington, author and politician

Won’t it be wonderful when black history and native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.
Maya Angelou, poet

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there’s the United States of America.
Barack Obama, President of the United States

 Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught.  I have a two-year-old son.  You know what he hates?  Naps!  End of list.
Dennis Leary

Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination.
Author Unknown

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