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The Fierce Urgency of Now

[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA[/caption] This past weekend I attended the Black Male Summit at the University of Akron.  I sat with 1700 participants who were predominately young African American men and boys accompanied by teachers, pastors, family and guests, like me.  This was the ninth annual "summit" and the third one that I had attended.  People from 18 states came; prominent national and local speakers shared their experiences and wisdom.  Tom Joyner, nationally syndicated talk show host; Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League; Tavis Smiley, author and TV host; and Stephen A Smith, ESPN sports announcer/journalist, were keynote speakers followed by dozens of faculty, community leaders and college student presentations.  It was a gathering of people speaking about the reality stated in a report by the American Federation of Teachers Racial Equity Task Force:  "America has broken its promise of liberty and justice for all.  The doors of educational and economic opportunity remain firmly closed for many men and boys of color." (Source: “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equality” 2015) Each session that I attended touched my mind, heart and soul in different ways.  The fact that the color of one’s skin is the documented historical and contemporary source of inequity is an unconscionable reality.  The fact that an annual "summit" must happen for voices to be heard demands our attention.  Dr. Martin Luther King called it "the fierce urgency of now."  One of the summit speakers titled his presentation: "It’s Not a Moment; it’s a Movement". He said it takes prayer, protest and policy to effect change and equity. As I listen to the scripture readings during the Easter season and this time of remembering the Acts of the Apostles, I am struck by the Gospel call to speak and act on what the life, death and resurrection means today.  "The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus and they left rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." (Acts 5:40-41) As Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace, we are called to live the Gospel with our lives. We declare in our Chapter Commitments that we will create environments of peace, promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized and transform oppressive systems.  As a Dominican Associate I think we must invite others to join us in the urgency of prayer, protest and policies to promote racial justice throughout our country.

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