Thursday, July 16
This post was provided by Rose Holmes
Pam Tennell is the Legislative Commission Chair of the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (AACCW) and a parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta. Her letter to the editor appears on page 11 of the July 9, 2020 print edition of The Georgia Bulletin (Volume 58, Number 13).
Letter to the Editor | The Georgia Bulletin
by Pam Tennell
I appreciate the National Council of Catholic Women’s email addressing racism and sharing tools to help us have the conversation of racism.
My soul aches!
Racism is a lot to wrap your head around. If you are not a person of color and this is not your experience, it’s even harder to grasp why Black Lives Matter. This is why we must share our stories. There are countless stories that have NOT been videotaped. But for the two that we have seen recently, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, it is a reminder to people of color what can happen on any given day. Their stories give the world glimpses of what happens in America, un-believed or unseen.
The psychological effects of racism and harassment are extremely heavy and even difficult to sometimes speak out loud because they seem so outlandish.
We have taught our kids right from wrong and we don't have a hateful bone in our bodies. But if we don’t speak to injustices toward black men, people of color and all people, we silently agree with injustice. If you have not had a conversation with your family, your friends or your neighbors about what you can do or asked questions about what you don’t understand, now is the time!
Questions to ponder:
- When your children, grandchildren, or family members leave the house, do you worry the police will pull them over? Remind them to speak actions before they move, to keep both hands on the wheel and don’t make any sudden moves?
- Has anyone ever followed you around a store watching your every move?
- Has anyone stopped you at the door of a public meeting to tell you, your meeting must be down the hall? Or that this is a different meeting and yours was cancelled?
Take a moment. Note how you feel or how you would feel. What can you do? If you see something, say something.
If you have a question about my experience or any of your AACCW sisters, ask. In addition to the resources shared by NCCW, schedule an activity similar to Jane Elliot’s blue eyes/brown eyes exercise. Read about efforts from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Color of Change and the NAACP.
With prayer, commitment and hearts on fire for Jesus, we will get past this and be a better world in spite of structural racism. What a blessing it is to be part of the Catholic Church determined to have the conversation, speak against racism and not run from it.
I look forward to AACCW addressing racism at every opportunity. We can save lives through voting for laws and people who make all Americans a priority.
Peace and blessings of Christ always, through our Blessed Mother Mary!