Popular movements call for sanctuary, disruption; blast racism, ‘all forms of human hierarchy’
Participants in the First US Regional Meeting of Popular Movements issued a “message from Modesto” following a four-day meeting in the California city.
Cardinal Peter Turkson and two dozen US bishops attended the meeting, which was cosponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and PICO National Network.
“We believe that every human is sacred with equal claim to safe water, education, health care, housing and family-sustaining jobs,” participants said in their message. “Racism and all forms of human hierarchy, whether based on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, arrest and conviction records, immigration status, religion or ethnicity are immoral.”
“Racism is stripping Black, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Native people of their humanity and fueling police abuse and mass-incarceration, and fueling a crisis of homelessness and displacement,” the message continued. “Raids and Trump Administration Executive Orders are scapegoating immigrants and ripping families apart.”
The participants added:
We understand that a small elite is growing wealthy and powerful off the suffering of our families. Racism and White Supremacy are America’s original sins. They continue to justify a system of unregulated capitalism that idolizes wealth accumulation over human needs. Yet too often our faith communities and religious leaders fail to heed the mandate to denounce greed and stand with the poor and vulnerable.In response, the message proposes several actions, including
- “sanctuary”: “we urge every faith community, including every Catholic parish, to declare themselves a sanctuary for people facing deportation and those being targeted based on religion, race or political beliefs”
- “disrupting oppression and dehumanization”: “we must put our bodies, money and institutional power at risk to protect our families and communities, using tools that include boycotts, strikes, and non-violent civil disobedience”
- “bold prophetic leadership from faith communities”: “we ask our Catholic Bishops to write a covenant that spells out specific actions that dioceses and parishes should take to protect families in the areas of immigration, racism, jobs, housing, and the environment”
- “political power”: “to defend our families and protect our values we must build political power”
- Message from Modesto
- San Diego bishop: ‘we must all become disrupters’ (CWN, 2/22)
- Cardinal Tobin decries populist racism, xenophobia (CWN, 2/21)