Authored by Susan Miller, St. Stephen’s, Brewton (Member, Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation)
What is the Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation?
For me it is
A respectful environment in which to learn and share
A place to help me grow in living out my baptismal covenant that calls us to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.
As someone who could be labeled as conservative, I was taken aback for a moment when I was asked to serve on the Commission. Then I realized, my voice, my conservative voice is important in this work.
It is not okay for me to sit on the sidelines and do no harm. It is not okay for me to say "I haven’t intentionally hurt anyone." It is not okay for me to be afraid to step into the conversation for fear of being labeled. I need to be an active part of the conversations on race and injustice that involves any group of persons. Each voice matters and each voice needs to be heard so we can truly learn to love, respect, and show dignity to all individuals.
My experience on the Commission over the last two years has been one of learning and making new friends. I don’t always agree with everything that is presented, but I have always learned something. From each conversation, workshop, reading and each training where I have participated, I have had the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of issues of race, discrimination and poverty and how they affect our communities.
I invite everyone to look over the offerings and resources that are available through the Commission. They can be found here: https://www.diocgc.org/racial-justice-and-reconciliation and https://www.diocgc.org/learn-pray-act.
There are workshops, a speaker series and pilgrimages offered throughout the year along with videos, books and articles. People have different entry points, so find something you are comfortable with and hear the voice of someone that may be different from you. Listen to a perspective, that may be different from yours. The more we learn, the more we can share our voices with others and become part of the conversation that will bring about real change. We will always have disagreements, but through difficult, and respectful conversations, we can grow into a more loving community, showing everyone the dignity they deserve.
I want to say thank you to the members of the Commission who asked me to join. I am sure, to some at the time, it seemed like a strange choice. For me, it has been an incredible opportunity to work with a dedicated group of individuals.