Chicago Province Statement on Immigration, Refugees and Racism

Statement of the Chicago Province on Immigration, Refugees and Racism

In light of growing intolerance of people of color in society, as well as government statements that promote this intolerance and government policies that work against the acceptance and welfare of immigrants and refugees, the Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word confirms the Society’s long commitment to promote just relationships between peoples, races and nations. Building upon its own historical stance against racism, and its historical solidarity with immigrants, refugees and marginalized peoples, the Chicago Province states:

1. We condemn the racist rhetoric of government leaders and others that fuels the fires of racism, prejudice, xenophobia and white nationalism. We condemn the demonization and inhumane treatment of immigrants and refugees, the false narrative that paints them as criminals and job-stealers, and the abandonment of the historical welcome given to refugees by the United States.

2. Recognizing our own need for constant conversion, we commit ourselves to ongoing efforts to grow in truly intercultural community living and ministry. We commit ourselves to recognizing biases and racism within our own hearts and our communities, explore the dynamics of white privilege in the North American context of our province, and implement guided discussions, workshops, and presentations in our communities to carry this out. We affirm and pledge to deepen our intercultural life and mission, witnessing to the possibility of diverse nationalities, cultures, and races to form genuine community for a common purpose.

3. We will seek to educate, work and advocate for laws and policies that are just and according to Catholic Social Teachings. Hence, we continue to support the United States Catholic Bishops’ stance, including the call for comprehensive immigration reform. The Province JPIC Coordinator will continue to educate members on these issues and urge the members to take appropriate actions. In our ministries, we will seek to educate those under our care, collaborate with other organizations defending the rights of immigrants and refugees, and work with others in calling out structural racism and making changes in local and national policies as needed.

4. In our parishes / direct apostolates, we will strengthen the priority given to African American and immigrant communities as the focus of our parish outreach. We will strengthen our historical bond to the African-American community in particular, as we committed ourselves to do at the 2018 Chicago Provincial Assembly and Chapter. We will continue to minister in multicultural parishes, improving our ability to facilitate movement from the fact of multiculturality to genuine intercultural faith communities. We will offer resources for ongoing formation for those members engaged in these apostolates.

5. We wish to enhance our networking with other organizations, religious communities and movements sharing these concerns. We will support such organizations by giving opportunities to those confreres who wish to participate, and by giving financial support as we are able. In particular, we hope to strengthen our collaboration with the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in this regard.