Raising Awareness of the Sin of Racism

by | May 12, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

In an attempt to raise awareness of the sin of racism, the congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York have presented conferences, webinars, and other educational resources.

In addition to the work of the congregation, two members of the Voting and Anti-Racism Committee began a film series in January 2022 entitled “Walking in Another Person’s Shoes” to view the daily struggles, accomplishments, and triumphs of people of color. They show the films once every other month on a Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Convent of Mt. St. Vincent, the retirement home of the sisters. Most of the sisters would not have seen many of the films that Sister Margaret O’Brien and Sandy Figueroa, an Associate member, presented and will present.

Sister Margaret and Sandy planned the film series as an opportunity to interact with the story and characters of the film. If the sisters wanted to have a discussion afterwards, they were free to do so. There were no prepared questions or dissection of the film. The sisters were just to relate to the film as if they were in a movie theater.

The first film that was shown in January was Loving, a movie based on a true story of an interracial couple from Virginia who with the help of a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union dismantled the state of Virginia’s laws forbidding interracial marriages. Approximately 15 to 20 sisters attended the showing and had a lively discussion after the showing. Sister Margaret provided the popcorn, which really gave the feeling of being in a movie theater.

The second film shown in March, in honor of Women’s History month, was Hidden Figures, a film of three African American women mathematicians who helped launch John Glenn’s journey into space. The number of sisters who attended was smaller, about 15 sisters, and some of them had seen the film previously. Again, the sisters had a lively discussion that was not planned.

The third film, A Better Life, will be shown in May. The film highlights a father’s journey with his son from Mexico to California in search of a better life for his family. The film centers on the relationship between the father and son.

Sister Margaret and Sandy show films that present stories from different racial/ethnic groups. They felt that sisters could relate more to stories on film than reading a book or viewing a documentary film.

On another vein, two other members of the Voting and Anti-Racism Committee are planning to study and launch the 1619 project within the congregation. The two committee members will meet in May to study the project and plan activities for the 2022/2023 academic year.

The committee members are excited about the work that is being done for the Sisters of Charity and especially working with our sisters in the retirement home.

Sandy Figueroa
Associate Member
Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York

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