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Anti-Racism: the Providence Community’s justice focus for 2021-2026

The Providence Community holds up green cards during the Chapter meeting in October with nearly everyone affirming anti-racism as the justice focus for the Community for the next five years.

A sea of green yes cards filled O’Shaughnessy Dining Hall. During the recent General Chapter, the Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates voted to affirm antiracism as the justice focus for the coming years.

The process leading up to the vote began many months prior. Sisters and Providence Associates provided feedback about the proposed justice focus. Members of the Justice Coordinating Commission drafted a proposal from the feedback for the Providence Community to consider at the Summer 2021 Annual Meeting. After additional input, the final proposal was brought to the General Chapter.

Work to do

The direction is clear — we will focus our justice efforts on the issue of racism. Our justice focus document reads:

Recognizing that:

  • racism and white supremacy are found at the intersection and core of many other justice issues;
  • systemic and structural racism have been the driving force in the inequalities and inequities among various ethnic groups, especially people of color who are the global majority;
  • racism is the foundation of the systemic inequalities and inequities in the entire human community (and is the “original sin” of the United States);
  • the Providence Community admits its own complicity in operating out of its white privilege;

Therefore:

We, the Providence Community, choose racial equality and equity as our justice focus for 2021-2026. We commit to partnering with other groups in prayer, education, action and advocacy to:

  • explore the systemic roots of racism in our countries and in our own lives;
  • identify areas of our lives in which we may be complicit with racist attitudes and actions;
  • examine the intersections of racism with other justice issues;
  • make choices to rid ourselves of actions and attitudes that perpetuate racism;
  • advocate publicly for legislation and policy that promote equality and equity for all.

Clearly, the focus is a timely one, given the many ways issues of racism continue to arise. We have work to do. It will indeed challenge us, perhaps in ways we cannot imagine. We invite you to join us in our efforts.

Originally published in the winter 2022 issue of HOPE magazine.

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Sister Paula Damiano

Sister Paula has been a Sister of Providence since 1967. She has ministered as a teacher, director of vocations, pastoral associate and as a General Councilor for the Sisters of Providence. She currently ministers as director of programs and retreats at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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