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Am I doing enough about racial injustice?

I always wondered what I would have been doing if I had been alive during the race riots in the 1960s. I wondered how people could just sit by and let the racial injustice in the society happen.

But this week has opened my eyes. That moment of need to fight racial injustice in this country never really ended, did it? The question is not what I would have done. The question is, what am I doing right now?

As I look at my life, I ask, what is it I am doing?

Sheltered by uniformity

I grew up in a very small, very rural community. We were the very opposite of diverse. I don’t think there were any black people in my high school, save the one black guy who was in high school while I was in junior high.

Nobody directly taught that one should be a racist or to hate someone for the color of their skin. In fact, coming from a poor family I was always rooting for the underdog and I’ve always had a deep-seated burning for justice.

But I was taught to be leery and a bit afraid of anything that was odd or different. And so, I guess in the community in which I grew up, that would in effect apply to people of color.

Blog post author Amy Miranda and her kids

I grew up, moved out of my small town by going to college. I met my husband during college, and he is a from a different race and culture than I am. For me that was a fun perk: cute kids and I get to learn and live within a much broader cultural space than I started in. And the food is great!

New awareness

I don’t think I was ever racist. What I was was blissfully unaware.

A real eye-opening moment for me was the anti-racism training offered by the Sisters of Providence. It was the early 2000s, and at the time the sisters had an anti-racism team that offered training to all their sisters, staff members and many others in the community. I remember my presentation was by a sister, a police officer and some other community members. The sisters had teamed up with the local police to share their message and training with them and alongside them. Something powerful and needed. Perhaps even ahead of its time.

That anti-racism training opened by eyes to the utter injustice our society sets before people of color, especially black Americans. I saw for the first time how black people were treated differently by police officers, when applying for jobs, within our justice system. It opened my eyes and I was never the same.

I admire the Sisters of Providence and how their dedication to justice made a difference in my life and in the lives of people I touch.

Is it enough?

And now here I am. In this moment. Am I doing enough?

Well, my life work of more than 20 years has been helping to amplify the Sisters of Providence voice and help others to know their message. A message of love, mercy and justice. A message our world needs.

I see these women pouring out their lives for people in need. In need of food, or care, or compassion. In need of more just systems. In need of freedom from oppression.

I am where I am supposed to be with the Sisters of Providence. I do know that. It is a blessing to be able to walk with them as a Providence Associate.

Raising kids

And then I am also a mom. This aspect of my life takes a lot of time. The cooking, the cleaning, the coordinating, the driving, the listening, the caring.

But one thing I am doing is raising amazing young people. Young people who care about justice. Who will grow up to be part of the answer to this problem in our systems. Kids who are aware of the need for justice in our society and in our world.

I’ve been talking to my kids about the racial injustices going on in the United States lately. Like me, they are incensed. They are confused. They don’t know what to do, but they are appalled at how people are treated just for the color of their skin.

My 14-year-old is ready to go out and join the peaceful protesters in the street. My 10-year-old tells me he doesn’t know what to feel, but he doesn’t think he is going to grow up to be a racist. That is a great start!

I am also staying educated. And I’m willing to speak out for justice when I see people being oppressed and treated unfairly.

Am I doing enough? It sure doesn’t feel like it when I see a video of a man murdered because of the color of his skin.

What more should I be doing to help? Tell me here in the comments. I really want to know. Right now, I feel sad and a little helpless. What do you think is next for fixing this mess of racial inequality in our country?

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Mission Advancement office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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11 Comments

  1. Sarah Woodruff on June 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Great Job Amy!

    I think one idea is let our children be aware of how to be kind and feel free to talk about their feelings.

  2. Marsha Speth on June 1, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Good question, Amy!
    Ask those who are running for public office what solutions they have to offer.
    Then vote for those who are open to working with others.

  3. S. Denise Wilkinson on June 2, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Asking the same of myself, Amy. Thank you.

  4. Ann Casper, SP on June 2, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Amy, thank you. Shortly after I read your Blog I read this quote by Anthony de Mello, who reminded the reader that “Spirituality means waking up.” To me, that was what your Blog was about and a clear call to me to wake up to what more I can do to resist racial injustice and stand in solidarity with all People of Color.

  5. Bill Hughes on June 2, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Thank you, Amy. I think many of us are feeling what you are feeling. All of us must come to that place. I can recommend
    Kelly Brown Douglas’ Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God
    Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism
    Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me
    Here are some other suggestions.
    75 Things White People Can Do for Social Justice
    https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

  6. Mary Carroll Blocher on June 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks, Amy. Your words make me think. Churches need to speak out against racism. My pastor ,for the first time, spoke out about racism and “white people’s attitudes”. He was afraid he would upset certain people!
    Maybe that’s what I need to do also!

  7. Jeannie Smith, PA on June 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Amy, you’ll never know all you are doing by making your own words and the words and deeds of the Providence Family known to so many. Probably the biggest thing and best that you are doing is raising those beautiful children with such wisdom and kindness and thirst for justice. For me, I pray (though fail to always live) our Litany of Non-Violence: “Deliver us from the silence that gives consent to abuse, war and evil. Grant us the desire, and the courage, to risk speaking and acting for the common good.”

  8. Jenny Howard on June 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks, Amy….I really appreciated your reflection, your reminders, and your questions…

  9. Rosemary Nudd, SP on June 2, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Amy thank you so much for your thoughtful openness. Not long ago PA Ann Henderson & I were asking ourselves your question. Besides echoing & agreeing with some version of all the above responses, we agreed that more conscious prayer is an important practice: prayer to Sofia Spirit to show us, personally, what is ours to do; prayer that the loving, merciful, just Providence which enfolds us all will touch & uplift EVERYONE involved in this terrifying time in our country.

  10. Sister Connie SP on June 4, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Amy:
    I have pondered your blog for a couple of days and thank you for writing it and sharing your own journey of awareness and action with respect to racial inequality and racial justice with all of us. The only idea I might add is to teach your children and choose yourself to be a computer justice minister and use the SP website and /or the Sisters of Mercy justice website to continue to be aware of and respond to requests to contact government officials to urge them to take appropriate action when invited to do so.

  11. Katie Rahman on June 9, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you for your witness, dear friend.
    I would like to share a great homily by Fr. John Hollowell (pastor of Annunciation in Brazil and St. Paul in Greencastle, and chaplain at DePauw University and Putnamville Correctional Facility) on the topic of the absolute evil of racism, which he delivered two years ago.
    “Anyone who harbors racist beliefs or outlooks, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not taken root in that person.” — Fr. Hollowell
    (It’s a 20-minute homily, so get comfortable!)
    https://youtu.be/xsuLlJY55FY

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