Bellarmine has had an active Dismantling Racism Team since 2007. In April 2021, responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, parish leadership approved a Bellarmine Chapel Statement on Racial Justice in which we collectively committed to “becoming an anti-racist parish community.” The Dismantling Racism Team works across the parish to help us live into this statement. We focus on building relationships with communities of color, educating our community on the realities of systemic racism, and advocating with our brothers and sisters of color for anti-racist policies.
“Racism can often be found in our hearts—in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture. As such, it can lead to thoughts and actions that we do not even see as racist but flow from the same prejudicial root. Racism can also be institutional when unjust practices or traditions treat certain people unjustly. The cumulative effects of personal sins of racism have led to social structures of injustice and violence that makes us all accomplices in racism.” ~US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Open Wide Our Hearts
“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.” ~Pope Francis
Grounded in Catholic Social Teaching and strengthened by our parish mission, we “work for justice and welcome all with love,” striving to co-create the beloved community Jesus imagined. A vision founded upon the inherent dignity and worth of every person.
With humility, we lament our historic, yet present and personal, Congregational involvement in racism; a sin that dehumanizes us all. We seek forgiveness and pray for the grace to sustain our lifelong journey of conversion to racial solidarity.
The Jesuits have reiterated the need for sustained transformational relationship-building in their Universal Apostolic Preferences, particularly UAP 2, Walking with the Excluded.
The Dismantling Racism Team builds relationships with the black Catholic community at the Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill, including through the Xavier Jesuit Academy opening on-site in the Fall of 2023. The Team also encourages parishioners and parish staff to support black-owned businesses when possible.
The Team offers ongoing educational and growth opportunities to the parish, including JustFaith modules, video and book discussions, reflections and prayers, and a Journey to Justice pilgrimage to civil rights sites across Alabama in 2022. You can watch a video of one recent MLK Day reflection here.
Finally, the Team also collaborates with the AMOS Project on advocating for racial and economic justice in our community.
Check out our Dismantling Racism Resources to learn more about how to understand and respond to racism, white supremacy, and racial inequities today.