There have been many nations affected by systemic racism and the Covid pandemic over the past few months. Systemic racism became an accepted business centuries ago. The United States was certainly not alone in the promotion of the slave trade as many European countries were also active in this terrible business of human trafficking. Through many years of enlightenment, the world began to see the injustice of enslaving fellow human beings. Slowly laws were written to make slavery illegal and to give basic human rights to all women and men of all racialized groups. However, the damage had been done regarding how many were taught to believe in the inferiority of black people.
In these days of pandemics and other factors that threaten to divide people on the global and national stage, the world must look to America to lead us towards a fairer, more just society that respects and welcomes the diversity of races, cultures and religions. The very issues that divide a nation can be used to strengthen it. We see these issues in America and Canada and around the world but how do we overcome them?
It may well be as simple as listening and respecting one another in away that characterizes our Vincentian charism. We must listen with both our heads and our hearts to understand these divisive issues and use this new understanding and enlightenment to heal the wounds that we all see and feel. Let us look at the issues of division through the eyes of those most affected and seek their support in addressing how to overcome past injustices. The global world needs a truly United States of America to lead us towards this healing. I hope and pray that the USA can heal the wounds of systemic racism and this pandemic, and use the strength of a great nation that includes great leaders of various racialized groups to once again demonstrate to the global world what can be achieved.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.