Musings on Redeeming the Soul of a Country

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

On July 30, 2020, we laid to rest another giant of the Civil Rights Movement, Congressman John L. Lewis. Speaker after speaker revealed a life lived from an early age with a mission “to do something” about the injustice of racism.  He made this choice at age 15 because as he wrote in his final letter to the country, 14 year old “Emmitt Till was his George Floyd, his Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.”  He knew with great clarity “the potential brutality” that could be inflicted upon him and others who look like him for “no understandable reason.” For six decades, John Lewis took his own advice “to do something” in the struggle for peace and justice through his leadership in the Civil Rights movement. Even now in his death, he inspires a new generation, the Black Lives Matter movement, in its 21st century struggle against injustice.

As a 68-year-old Black woman raised in Virginia, I am very much aware of the struggle for racial equality and the civil rights movement. However, I must admit that the murder of George Floyd affected me more deeply than I am able to express in knowing that only the color of his skin gave “unspoken” permission for such brutality. How do you even process that kind of trauma?  I found that as much as I wanted to write to about what I was feeling—I could not.  The inspiration of hearing and reading about John Lewis’ life in recent days has contributed to helping me move further along in my own journey of “doing something” in the struggle to proclaim that Black lives matter!

In this June 7, 2020, photo provided by the Executive Office of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, John Lewis looks over a section of 16th Street that’s been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington. The Washington Monument and the White House are visible in the distance. Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. He was 80. (Khalid Naji-Allah/Executive Office of the Mayor via AP)

Proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, in some ways, has become divisive. Some want to express their support of the statement that Black lives matter, but not the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) —associating it with violence, Marxist ideology or that it denigrates the traditional idea of family. Beyond the statement “Black Lives Matter,” I understand the principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, in essence as “promoting a world where every Black person has the social, economic and political power to thrive.  They promote freedom for all people regardless of race, gender identity, economic status, religion beliefs or not, and immigration status.”  What I have seen of legitimate leaders and followers of the BLM movement has been peaceful protests and the inclusion of all races and sexual orientations. Such inclusiveness might disturb some, but is that not part of what the Gospel is about—meeting people where they are without judgement of who they are.

I believe the Black Lives Matter movement has often been a target for disinformation.  Promoting disinformation has always been a strategy for discrediting anything or anyone that threatens the status quo and power structure. Openness to learning truth is the only way to combat disinformation.

Like Congressman John Lewis and leaders of the Civil Rights movement, I am inspired by this new, young, and diverse generation who continue “the good fight” proclaiming in the 21st century that Black lives do, indeed, matter!

I pray this time we are heard.

Pat Dual, OP

Posted in God Calling?, News

20 responses to “Musings on Redeeming the Soul of a Country

  1. Thank you for the information that you share here. I was in high school at the time of the march in Selma , no one spoke of it. I am ashamed to say I had no idea that some of these things were taken place.
    I remember going to Woolworth once with my mother and seeing a sign that said no black people.I asked my mother about it and she said later. When we got home I asked again. She said that black people could not eat in that section. I ask why? Her answer was some people do not think they should do a lot of things because the were black. She told me always remember that God made them just like you and I don’t ever be nasty to them treat them equally.

  2. John Lewis was filled with “Amazing Grace” as we all are. Now to have the courage to claim it.
    Thank you, Pat, for this blog.

  3. Many thanks Joan for a balanced statement — John Lewis was a powerful example of “doing something”. I well remember those years in the ’60’s — we still have far far to go.

  4. Thank you Pat for speaking up, for acknowledging that for a while we may be without words but as we continue to listen we will find some. As I enter homes where some comment is made I am finding ways to engage. Not big ways but a least some conversation.
    Just thanks for sharing

  5. I am praying right beside you, ma soeur.
    I am conflicted trying to discover what i need to see and hear and convert in these days of new awakening for the common good of all.

  6. Dear Pat,
    I read your blog with gratitude for you, your life experience and your perspective. Thank you so much. Yes, John Lewis
    inspires me too. Let’s hope & pray that the new generation will take up the challenge.

  7. Sr. Pat,
    Thank you for this reflection. It clearly expresses the impact these times have had on so many. I think with the heinous crime of Mr. Floyd’s death, we witnessed Christ’s crucifixion in modern times. Ineffable. The young generation is responding to the call to preach the Gospel. There is much hope amidst the chaos.

  8. Thank you, Pat, for explaining the principles of the BLM movement with clarity and passion. I would think this blog could be/should be shared with our local newspapers.
    Blessings of peace.
    Diane McOsker

  9. Dear Pat,
    You did a wonderful job of telling us how you feel and what we need to do to start making things better in the world that we live in today.
    I hope that you felt welcomed when you came to live with us as you began your journey to become a Dominican Sister many years ago. I know I was happy to have you live here with us at that time. I only have happy memories. I hope that you feel the same way.
    Lots of love and prayers,
    Barbara

  10. Thank you, Pat. John Lewis gave me another layer of understanding BLM than I had before. Your blog does too. You have my full support and prayers.

  11. Cool Pat! I also see the wonderful diversity in the protesting people who courageously march in the streets as the future of this country. The only way to build a more equitable and just society is to follow Rep. John Lewis’ way of peaceful and good trouble, that is be the gadfly pestering the “powers that be.” Thank you for sharing what is so painful for you.

  12. Thank you so much, Pat! I am eager for this blog to come out on FB so I can share it! It never ceases to amaze me that so many can get so riled up and even enraged by this simple statement of the obvious!

  13. Thank you, Pat. I join my prayers with yours. I especially appreciated your comments on the Black Lives Matter movement. May the light of truth shatter the darkness of disinformation.

  14. Right on, Pat ! Hearing the Congressional meeting tells me some of us are not even half way of understanding… or open to the reality of racism and discrimination in our Country. We have to continue to storm heaven!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.