We continue to agonize over the horrendous death of George Floyd, who tragically follows so many other people of color whose lives have been taken unjustly. These murders have been exposed on the backdrop of a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black, Latino and immigrant populations across the United States along with a deepening recession and high unemployment rates. We celebrate the peaceful protests that have awakened the conscience of America to our racial crisis. Still, the violence and destruction that has ensued in our community, like so many others, cannot be accepted as a just means to an end, especially when it has damaged many small and minority businesses which need our support more than ever.
Soon after Floyd’s murder took place, Tim Marx, the CEO of our sister agency in St. Paul and Minneapolis noted to all of us in the Catholic Charities USA network that George Floyd was killed by police not far from several Catholic Charities locations serving children and adults. He recognized the need to promote both nonviolence and racial healing: “We must pursue peace. We know it is only possible if we also pursue justice.”
At Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, we are blessed to serve and empower a broad diversity of people across our many programs, and our staff represent a variety of ethnicities and cultures. This diversity makes us stronger. It reminds us that we are one human family. The path to overcoming personal bias and systemic racial injustice is long and winding. And it is my conviction that the journey always begins with forging meaningful relationships with those from different backgrounds, races, cultures and faiths.
As we move forward, our mission continues to not only serve and empower the poor and vulnerable. It is also to forge relationships of solidarity among all our supporters and everyone in our communities. We pray for strength and guidance as Catholic Charities contributes to the collection of community efforts to promote peace and racial reconciliation.
On June 1, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr publicly issued a statement, and I would like to adopt his words as ours as well at Catholic Charities, an agency of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.