Responding to Charlottesville: Don’t be Quiet!

Written By Call To Action


August 17, 2017

In a small Pennsylvania town, chalk on the path into the park reads, “When Black Lives Matter, then all lives will matter. Love guides justice. Silence is consent. Don’t be quiet.”

It’s been one week since white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville. They assembled under the names alt-right, neo-nazi’s, and the KKK. They marched with open and murderous violence and militancy, injuring many. Heather Heyer was martyred by a white supremacist when he drove his car into a crowd of non-violent protesters. Many from around the country join people in Charlottesville in states of shock, fear, grief, and commitment.

As we hear the Gospels call us to let our faith overcome our fear, we realize that we MUST bring the message of love, justice, and courage to every community to which we belong. We must confront and challenge white supremacy wherever it is—in our government, in our neighborhoods, in our parishes, in our families, in ourselves. Where it hides, we must shine light. We must pray, and we must love, and then, we must speak, and act. We cannot be quiet.

We have a responsibility to organize ourselves. President Trump openly sympathizes with the white supremacists, shielding them from blame and rationalizing their violence. The US Catholic Conference of Bishops cannot bring themselves to say the words white supremacy. In their statement responding to Charlottesville, President of the USCCB Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo instead condemns an unspecified “evil ideology”, and generally holds the usual line of “joining our voices calling for calm.” Our Bishops speak in willful ignorance born of white privilege and white power when they call for calm in response to violence and murder. Sadly, this is to be expected from our patriarchal, majority white, exclusively male church leadership.

Call To Action co-founder Sheila Daley said in response to the weak stances from church and government authorities that, the alt right is not going to go away anytime soon and it needs a strong voice of opposition in the religious community.”

Call To Action holds Charlottesville, and all who were injured and killed resisting white supremacy there, in our prayers, and we commit to respond to Charlottesville in the following ways:

  1. We call  on our members to stand in solidarity by participating in local actions.
  2. Call To Action is planning round table discussions to be hosted in the local Catholic Churches with local organizers in Charlottesville to discover where white supremacy and Catholicism intersect or run parallel to one and other. We cannot ignore that many white supremacists claim to be Christians and Catholics, and that over 60% of white Catholics voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Rejecting them is not enough, we must directly engage.
  3. Finally, for the next 30 days, CTA will donate 10% of contributions made to Call To Action to these local organizers and efforts whom we are now working alongside.

Call To Action will continue to direct our resources toward activities, nationally and in our chapters, that challenge injustice in our Church and in our world, to continue to build both as we believe our God wants them to be—filled with the peace that comes from justice, guided by love.

Peace and prayers,

Call To Action Staff and Vision Council

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Photo credit: Debbie Elliott/NPR