This week, Archbishop LeGatt takes a moment to reflect on the protests and riots currently taking place in the US, in response to the senseless and tragic murder by a police officer of George Floyd last weekend in Minneapolis. It may be tempting for some Canadians of privilege, sheltered from the realities of racism, to respond to these events with a self-righteous attitude, thinking that we Canadians are somehow beyond racism. But racism remains a very real reality here in Canada, one which we must face honestly, humbly, and with conviction. The painful experiences, especially those of Indigenous and Black Canadians, as survivors of so many types of systemic racism in Canada, come to mind when reflecting on how racism has existed, and remains in Canada.
How are we, Christians, to respond? By being willing to honestly and humbly recognize ways in which we also may, at times, be agents of racism, sometimes consciously, but often unconsciously. Are we willing to hear our sisters or brothers of different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds, when they bring to light ways in which we may have unknowingly acted in a way that promoted racial inequality? Are we willing to have real conversations about these pressing issues? Are we willing to take a moment of honest introspection and self examination to see if there are ways in which racism has been unconsciously and insidiously engrained in our ways of thinking or acting?
For Archbishop Albert, for any improvement to come about in the fight against racism, it must start individually: we can recognize that these are significant, systemic issues, but we must first strive to treat each person we encounter, each day of our lives, with the fullest of love and respect, as sisters and brothers in Christ.
During this pandemic, let us examine our lives, to emerge stronger, better, holier people, and press on together as a society towards the ideals of peace, love, and hope to which Jesus our Lord calls us every day.