Remember, honor, embody: MLK, Jr.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Greetings of peace!

In the approach to the annual holiday remembering and celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps there has never been a moment more vital for us to reflect on, remember, and practice the example he gave us. Is it possible, in these times of division and violence, to still be hopeful for the "beloved community" that he called us to? I know that I'll be wrestling with his words and drawing strength from his legacy as we celebrate his life this weekend.

Below, you'll find several resources for prayer, study and action curated from members of the Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team -- Pearlette Springer, Vicki Lott, Francis DeBernardo, Jacques Detiege and Mary Yelenick, as well as some recommendations from alumni of the team. We hope that especially during this time, these resources might help you to observe the holiday, whether on your own or with your family, or with members of your community, church or school.

I'd like to offer a special word of thanks to all of our members and friends who have served on the Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team over the past 20+ years. Especially over this past year, I have been so grateful for the work that Pax Christi USA set out to do in the mid-nineties in terms of anti-racism and accountability and PCART's leadership in guiding us forward. As I formatted this PSA, I was reviewing, for instance, this PSA e-bulletin from the archives, written by PCART on the opening of the MLK Memorial in 2011. I'll leave you with words from PCART members in that PSA which still challenge us now, a decade a later:

"Our anti-racism work is not simply about the issue of racism. Our work is understanding how racism infects and sabotages our peacemaking efforts. Dismantling racism in Pax Christi is a priority because racism is a sinful disease that distorts our vision and analysis, weakens our Gospel integrity and authenticity, and relegates us to the periphery of God's dream of an all-inclusive discipleship community working together to heal a broken world.

"This work is difficult and at times it may seem that for every step forward, we take two steps backward. It is much easier to focus on the sinfulness that exists in the world around us than it is to confront [what is] within. It is often easier for us to look beyond our borders--to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Sudan--than to look at the institutional and systemic racism within our borders that perpetuates social injustice and inflicts violence on many [of us who are] sisters and brothers of color. It is often easier to claim 'I am not prejudiced' than to work, pray, and befriend people outside our cultural, economic, linguistic, or racial community. The good news is that God 'makes a way out of no way...' The road may be long but Dr. King and many other holy women and men have gone before us to show us the way."
In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
Based on the writings of Dr. King and adapted from
the United Presbyterian Church Prayer on Martin Luther King, Jr.
I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us. 

I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war, that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible. 

I believe there is an urgent need for people to overcome oppression & violence,
without resorting to violence & oppression. 

I believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace, a way which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of this way is love. 

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. 

I believe that right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. 

I believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. 

I believe that what self-centered people have torn down, other-centered people can build up. 

By the goodness of God at work within people, I believe that brokenness can be healed. 

“And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and everyone will sit under
their own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.” 

> Use this prayer service prepared by Dianna Ortiz, OSU and adapted by Francis DeBernardo of the Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team with your family, local group, over Zoom with friends, etc.
> See additional resources under the "Prayer" section on our Black Lives Matter: Pray, Study, Act webpage.
from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Recommended by Vicki Lott, Ph.D., Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team and National Council member: The Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity did this excellent video of the "Letter from Birmingham Jail". After watching it, ask: What can I do today to help undo the fact that Dr. King’s statement that “11:00 Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America” is still true today? (The video is 55 minutes long.)
There are a number of upcoming webinars and virtual events to join this weekend and beyond:

> Also tonight! "A New Year's Message for America" -- a webinar with Rev. James Lawson
> Jan. 15 - Celebrate MLK's Birthday with Twin Cities Nonviolent, "Honoring an Apostle of Nonviolence and Civil Rights Leader"
> "Symposium for Systemic Change" from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and others
> Jan. 17 - MLK Prayer Service, "Women Witnesses for Racial Justice: Sister Thea Bowman" from FutureChurch
> Jan. 18 - Pax Christi USA's Dr. Vicki Lott presents, "The Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr"
> Starting in February from JustFaith Ministries, a six week course on "The Radical Martin Luther King, Jr"

More reading:

> The racist attack on our nation's capitol, by Rev. Bryan Massingale
> Read Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team leader Pearlette Springer's piece originally posted on our website in 2013, "If not now, when?"
> Read numerous articles under the "Study" section on our Black Lives Matter: Pray, Study, Act webpage.
1) Read our statement on why white fragility cannot block the conversations we need to have in our churches on racism, and consider hosting a conversation in your parish, with your local faith community, local group, state chapter, region and others over Zoom.

2) Contact your Members of Congress and have them support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Read more about the bill here.

3) Form a study group for the new book by Olga Segura, Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. The book is available for pre-order here.

Find more actions for racial justice and racial equity under the "Action" section on our "Black Lives Matter: Pray, Study, Act page".