Race Relations

Stories about race relations in St. Louis and the United States

Editorial | We’re in it for the long haul

Catholic Charities began its Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Lives program in the wake of the tornado that tore through Joplin in 2011 and has worked with thousands of volunteers to repair and rebuild the homes of survivors, both in the Joplin area and southern Missouri.

Archdiocese ‘uniquely positioned’ to meet challenges in Ferguson

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | twitter: @aeternusphoto

Representatives of the archdiocesan Peace and Justice Commission and the co-chairs of the Ferguson Commission met Dec. 17 to discuss ways to put the Ferguson report into action. Rev. Starsky Wilson from the Ferguson Commission spoke to representatives.

Before beginning a presentation about the Ferguson Report, Ferguson Commission co-chair Rev. Starsky Wilson asked for a show of hands among people attending Dec. 17 at Cardinal Rigali Center.

Who had actually read the report? And who had been to a similar presentation by Rev. Wilson and fellow co-chair Rich McClure?

Many hands went up. Rev. Wilson and McClure marveled at the affirmative responses.

Civic leaders commit to address issues of racial disparity

At about 3:45 p.m. Nov. 1, standing on a stage in front of 1,000 people, Tom Irwin faced a direct question from Derek Laney of Missourians Organized for Reform & Empowerment:

"Will you agree to broadly apply a racial-equity framework and take the lead to create a 25-year managed fund to solely support regional racial-equity infrastructure for all citizens?"

Irwin's answer was just as direct, quick and unequivocal.

'Vincentian Family' event discusses, proposes solutions to racism, injustice issues

Sarah Woolhiser, 22, is serving a year with the Vincentian Mission Corps. Recently she read to Serenity O’Connor, 3, at Our Lady’s Inn, where she volunteers.  The Vincentian Mission Corps is part of the "Vincentian Family," which recently had a gathering to discuss issues relating to racism and injustice and propose solutions.

Rebecca Harpring and three other young adults who are members of the Vincentian Mission Corps listened closely to the speakers and panelists during the morning-long event. No wandering off to the back of the room. No checking their cell phones for messages.

When broken into small groups to respond to the topic -- racism and social injustice in the St. Louis area as well as a gap in services for people in need -- they thoughtfully put their ideas on paper, then shared them with the larger group. The response, they noted, must work toward unity and trust.

St. Louis IX Dinner serves up conversation, trust

Fran Ventimiglia is the St. Vincent de Paul chair at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish and invited Dorothea Vaughn to the St. Louis IX Dinner. Ventimiglia has grown fond of Vaughn over the years and was eager to spend the evening gathered around a table with her and her family. The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish and the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry held an elegant, sit-down dinner for the Ferguson-area individuals who could not afford to treat their family to a nice evening at a restaurant. The event was held at the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish Center.

The tables were lined with white linens, and the dishes were set. The candles were lit as volunteers placed the finishing touches on the floral arrangements. All that was needed were the guests to arrive.

A dinner at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish last weekend was the culmination of months of hard work and planning by the St. Louis Young Adults. But this was no ordinary dinner, and no ordinary guests.

Speaking out about issues in the light of faith

For about 10 minutes every Sunday, a priest has the spotlight and, hopefully, the congregation's attention.

It's time to preach.

Based on the readings of the day, homilies teach lessons, provoke thought or prompt actions, whether tied to current events or occurrences in priests' lives.

For Msgr. Jack Schuler, events last year in Ferguson played a huge role in his preaching.

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