On a beautiful August evening, our SJA Anti-Racism Ministry hosted a neighborhood discussion of the history of racism and the movement for racial justice in the community that includes St. Joan of Arc, with more than 90 people in attendance. Fueled by fantastic ice cream (generously donated by Pumphouse Creamery), we were joined by many SJAers and members of other local congregations and community groups, as well as our district's state representative Aisha Gomez.
Our discussion was facilitated by Daniel Bergin, filmmaker and neighborhood resident and historian, who has been with us at SJA to show clips of his film "Jim Crow of the North" and clips of his work for the exhibit "RACE: Are We So Different?" at the Science Museum. Daniel invited stories from neighborhood elders and leaders, including our own Fr. Jim DeBruycker's story of the designation of St. Leonard of Port Maurice as a national church that has served many Africa Americans in our area.
We heard the names of so many familiar places and people, and were astonished to learn how much we don't know of the powerful history of racism and resistance in our community. We were awed by the work done by individuals and small groups over the years to achieve racial equity in our churches, our schools and our housing laws. We left with info on next steps we can all take to continue to learn and to act for racial justice.