To continue our November discussions on being a bridge in our own communities, we invited Brooke Broussard to be our Guest Blogger for December. She is a St. Catherine’s parishioner who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her family attends Session E.
“Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills.”
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
"We become bystanders who tacitly endorse evil and so share in guilt in it."
I thought I’d take a little time to introduce myself- I am a woman who wears many hats. I am a St. Catherine parishioner, a mother of two bright, athletic and spirited boys, ages 9 and 13, a wife of a very supportive husband who has served in the US Air National Guard Security Forces for 13 years, a business lawyer who counsels businesses of all sizes, from small family-owned restaurants in East Austin, to idea-stage start-ups, to large technology corporations like Google and Tesla, a volunteer lawyer for children in the Texas foster care system and child immigrants, an owner of two bossy dogs and three friendly chickens, a Cajun who grew up in rural Southwest Louisiana, and then later, one of the largest and most diverse cities in the United States, and a white woman who is part of a mixed race family and raising two biracial children.
"Have you ever felt powerless to do anything?"
Over the last few years, I started seeing story after story in the news of officer-involved shootings of unarmed Black men and boys, and story after story of retaliatory shootings of law enforcement officers. I felt deeply affected by the evil I was seeing in the world and wanted to do something about it. When people started using the hashtags “#BlackLivesMatter” (and then, the counter hashtag “#BlueLivesMatter”) on social media, and when Colin Kaepernick led the NFL national anthem protests, it seemed like society was trying to pit two groups of people against one another- On one side, people of color, and on the other side, military and law enforcement. But what about families like mine? My sons are biracial, and my husband is a military law enforcement officer. What if you love your country, but also see that we have serious issues with social injustice and racism that we need to address? What about the thousands of military service members and law enforcement officers who are also people of color, or have children and other loved ones who are people of color? A fellow lawyer, law enforcement wife and mother of a biracial son was profiled by the New York Times about how families like ours cope in the divided world in which we live.
It seemed to me like families like ours were being ignored by the national discourse, and that our country was being distracted from very serious and existential issues like systemic racism. I needed something more than a hashtag to share. I wanted to learn more about racial injustice in our community, and what we are doing to dismantle, reconcile and heal these injustices. I wanted to have serious conversations about race and social justice, and take concrete steps towards creating a more peaceful and equal world on here on Earth.
What are we doing to dismantle, reconcile and heal?
In October, the St. Catherine’s bulletin advertised “Courageous Conversations” at Holy Cross Catholic Church in East Austin. Courageous Conversations is a monthly discussion group about race and racism formed a few years ago by the Austin Diocese Office of Black Catholics, Pax Christi Austin and several local Catholic churches. At the first meeting I attended in October, we discussed ways we can undo racism in our parish communities, and at our meeting last week, Chief Brian Manley of the Austin Police Department had a candid Q&A session with us about what APD is doing to better serve the community. He mentioned that APD recently worked with community activists to adopt new de-escalation guidelines and encouraged those who have concerns to approach him directly. I left the meeting feeling hopeful and empowered.
This month, I will be blogging about ways that we can undo racism in our homes and community. The first step is to learn about racism in our community. A good place to start is by reading articles by Catholics who write about race and social justice, such as:
This blog is written by the Faith Formation staff, as well as other parishioners invited to reflect on topics of interest to our parish. It is called "Parish Voices" to remind us that all of us here at St. Catherine's are called to "Praise, Bless and Preach."