“We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.”
– Carter Woodson, 1926, historian
As we mark Black History Month in 2021, we stand in love and solidarity with our black sisters and brothers. We also mourn the loss of one of our Congregation’s most passionate voices for racial justice, Director of Associates Colette Parker.
A former journalist and Juvenile Probation Officer in Akron, OH, Colette came to the Dominican Sisters of Peace as our Co-Director of Associates in 2016, and was named the Congregation’s first Director of Associates in 2019. Under her direction, our Associate group grew to more than 750. She was also instrumental in the creation of our North East Ohio Racial Justice Committee, and an important voice in the creation of our Congregation’s statements on social and racial justice.
Colette passed away on Saturday, November 28, 2020, following a brief illness.
As we honor the contributions of our black sisters and brothers to the history of our nation, we also honor our dear friend Colette Parker and her contributions to our Congregation by re-sharing some of her most moving writings as a representative of our Associate’s group. These essays and blogs will be published as part of a special electronic book that will be made available later this month.
We hope that you value these beautiful writings as much as we do and that by reading them, you will come to know this woman of humble heart, giving spirit, and great, God-given talent.
February 25, 2021
We Have the Power to Redeem the Soul of America
Posted on August 3, 2020
COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic oppression that is at the root of inequality in America.
Civil unrest has highlighted what Black and brown people have known (since forever): that we have been historically denied constitutionally guaranteed rights, on the basis of the racial construct.
If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself trying to figure out how you can move the needle toward (what seems to be the ever-elusive “thing” called) racial justice. Some are still searching for a way to make a positive difference. Some are still wondering if they CAN make a difference.
I say to you: Yes. You CAN! As a source of motivation, I offer these words from the late Congressman John Lewis (written shortly before his death and published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, July 30, 2020):
“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”
The question now is: Are we willing to do the work?
Are we willing to admit that the declaration of our country as a beacon of freedom (a nation where there is equal justice for all) is a lie?
Are we willing to admit that the forced removal of indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery marked the beginnings of a system of racial injustice from which our country has yet to break free?
Are we willing to admit that deep-seated systemic inequities that disadvantage people of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions?
Acknowledging these truths is necessary, IF we are serious about dismantling systemic racism and working to repair centuries of harm inflicted on an oppressed people.
As more Americans are awakening to how systemic racism has cheated generations of Black and brown children and as our nation experiences this racial justice reckoning, it is up to us – ordinary people with extraordinary vision — to create the “more perfect union” that ALL Americans deserve. It is up to us to create a future of harmony where everyone can benefit.
We can start by heeding Lewis’ instructions: vote and participate in the democratic process; study and learn the lessons of history and accept that the truth does not change; continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe; put aside hatred; stand up, speak up and speak out, when you see something that is not right.
Together, we “can redeem the soul of America by getting in … good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Please click below to read the previous posts from Colette Parker.
February 23, 2021
February 18, 2021
February 16, 2021
February 10, 2021
February 8, 2021
February 4, 2021
February 2, 2021