Statement on Black Lives Matter
Photo by Joan Pereira
Global Catholic Climate Movement stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other groups fighting for racial justice. As a global movement that encompasses diverse communities, we are committed to urgent prayer and action to hear “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”
As Christians, we stand for love. People of color are asking to not be killed. It should go without saying that murder is wrong.
People of color demand to live lives of dignity and opportunity, free from fear. These are basic human rights that Catholic social teaching urges us to protect.
Our societies still fall tragically short of the Gospels’ vision of “loving kindness.” But Catholics are united in our strong opposition to the killing of Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color.
In the United States in particular, Catholics are opposed to the systemic injustices perpetrated against Black people. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement about the murder of George Floyd, noting that “this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life.”
Pope Francis has also spoken about George Floyd, who was a son, father, and human being. Pope Francis said that his murder was “tragic,” and that “we cannot turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
The murder and harassment of people of color, especially those who are poorest–not only in the United States but around the globe–is just one symptom of injustice.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that “where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights” seeking the common good means seeking the good of the most vulnerable. (158)
Our work is grounded in a vision of the future where human life is valued–where we indeed hear both the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth. We don’t do this work for “environmental reasons” alone–we do it because we believe in justice and solidarity.
All forms of injustice are closely linked. While racial and ethnic minorities struggle for equal protection under the rule of law, these communities also disproportionately struggle for protection from the environmental crisis.
The forces that lead to higher rates of pollution-related diseases in minority communities are the same forces that lead to disproportionately high death rates of Black and Brown people from COVID. They same forces that lead to the murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of unjust police officers.
When we consider that Black and Brown people are more likely to be among the most poor, and that they are systematically targeted and affected by the worst effects of climate change, we realize that serving our vision of integral ecology means working to eradicate racism.
Integral ecology teaches us that to address any one of these sins, we must fundamentally repair the relationships between us. As Catholics, we believe in the hope of redemption. We urge all people to redeem our sins by drawing closer to God and each other. We encourage prayer in action as well, through participating in and supporting the work of racial justice.