“THROUGH THE EYES OF OUR PARTNERS”: A STATEMENT ON RACIAL KILLING FROM THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF SPRINGFIELD
June 1, 2020
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield watch in horror and sadness each incidence of racial violence in the U.S. They see through the eyes of their sisters of color and the men and women who are their partners in a quest to dismantle racism within their own congregation and ministries.
“We experience the recent tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Sattila Shores. Ga., and George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis through the eyes of African American partners who serve alongside us, and all our partners of color, on our antiracism team,” the statement begins. “We mourn with them and fear alongside them for their loved ones: their sons and daughters and grandchildren, their nieces and nephews.”
The statement is signed by the Leadership Team of the congregation: Sisters Rebecca Ann Gemma, Rose Miriam Schulte, Mila Díaz Solano, and Marie Michelle Hackett.
Since 2004 the Dominicans have organized work for racial justice as SDART—the Springfield Dominican Antiracism Team. The team includes sisters, associates and other men and women—people of color and white people—who have been essential to the congregation’s ability to grow in understanding of the impact of racial injustice and the supremacy of whiteness which affect all people.
“Can the officers who objectified and dehumanized George Floyd see that? Can they see how their actions diminished their own humanity? How it tears at their own souls? How can they not?”
~ Sister Marcelline Koch, OP
“The work of antiracism takes all of us. The killing of yet another black person is a clear reminder of that,” said Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, the prioress general of the Springfield Dominicans. “Those of us who bear the privilege of whiteness hold the greatest share of responsibility. We are committed to learn and to accompany others who want the same.”
“With each statement we are compelled to make, I become more committed to our project to learn, and teach to others, how deeply institutionalized racism harms every person caught in the vise-grip of its abusive power,” said Sister Marcelline Koch, who along with Leroy Jordan is the co-chair of SDART. “Can the officers who objectified and dehumanized George Floyd see that? Can they see how their actions diminished their own humanity? How it tears at their own souls? How can they not?”
The full statement by the Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters of Springfeild, Illinois congregation:
ON RECENT RACIALLY MOTIVATED KILLINGS IN THE UNITED STATES
“We experience the recent tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Sattila Shores. Ga., and George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis through the eyes of African American partners who serve alongside us and all our partners of color on our antiracism team,” the statement begins. “We mourn with them and fear alongside them for their loved ones: their sons and daughters and grandchildren, their nieces and nephews.
We pledge our continued prayer, solidarity, and action on behalf of the racial justice we all desire. We reach for the Beloved Community long dreamed of by generations committed to the struggle for human dignity for all God’s children.
We long together for the healing of the scourge of racism and liberation from its systemic misuse of power. Only when the systems that support the supremacy of whiteness are dismantled will we have the opportunity for a healthier, more equitable nation and freedom for all–persons of color and white persons. God desires it and so do we.”
DECLARACIÓN SOBRE LOS RECIENTES ASESINATOS MOTIVADOS RACIALMENTE EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS
Hermanas Dominicas de Springfield, Illinois
“Experimentamos los recientes asesinatos trágicos de Ahmaud Arbery en Sattila Shores, Georgia y George Floyd en las calles de Minneapolis a través de los ojos de nuestros miembros afroamericanos/as que sirven junto a nosotras (personas de color y blancas) y a todos nuestros miembros de color en nuestro equipo de Antirracismo. Lloramos con ellos/as y tememos junto a ellos/as por sus seres queridos: sus hijos e hijas, nietos y nietas, sus sobrinas y sobrinos.
Ofrecemos nuestra oración continua, solidaridad y acción por la justicia racial que todos y todas deseamos. Nos unimos a los esfuerzos para llegar a ser la Comunidad Amada soñada por generaciones comprometidas con la lucha por la dignidad humana para todos los hijos e hijas de Dios.
Anhelamos juntas la sanación del flagelo del racismo y la liberación del abuso sistemático del poder. Solo cuando se desmantelen los sistemas que apoyan la supremacía blanca tendremos la oportunidad para una nación más sana, más equitativa y libertad para todas las personas de color y personas blancas. Dios lo desea y nosotras también."
Hermana Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP
Hermana Rose Miriam Schulte, OP
Hermana Mila Díaz Solano, OP
Hermana Marie Michelle Hackett, OP
To learn more about the Springfield Dominican Sisters’ work visit the Dismantling Racism page.
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Springfield Dominicans were established in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1873 and relocated to Springfield in 1893. They minister in the United States and Peru. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world.
Watch this short video about the antiracism work members of the Springfield Dominican Antiracism Team (SDART) have done and the ongoing efforts being made. Bob Blackwell and Sister Kathleen Anne Tait, OP share the stage and talk in depth about the partnership the sisters have to dismantle racism. This session was part of Uncovering the Light of the Gospel, a Dominican Associate candidate session on February, 2, 2020.