Gina Cleggs | Contributor

Fighting bias, racism

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

As we celebrate Black History Month, we at Catholic Charities are praying for the grace and courage we need to fight against each and every biased attitude, behavior and structure. As a social service provider, we work to address all biases, including those rooted in systems of overt oppression. We ask for your partnership in this important work.

Hope comes from two pastoral letters by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one issued in 1979 (“Brothers and Sisters to Us”) and one in 2018 (“Open Wide Our Hearts”), that expose the grave sin of racism, calling us to understand the direct connection between racial and economic disparities and offering guidance to move forward.

The consequences of prejudice and racism that the bishops urged us to eradicate in 1979 are indefensibly still present today: poverty, unemployment, hunger; and lack of access to health care, affordable housing, job training and education — all of which disproportionately affect communities of color. 

During the pandemic, these communities struggle even more, as those at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder have lost their lives and livelihoods in greater numbers. The remarkable strength they must continually muster is an inspiration, but their resilience is not an excuse for inaction or delay on the social justice work all of us are called to engage in — in our homes, our parishes and our workplaces.

According to our bishops, a “genuine conversion of heart” is how we must change and reform our institutions and society. If we accept God’s commandment to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Mt 22:37-39), then we will not only see, but feel with all our heart and soul, the unity to which all are called. For, “if [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12:26).

At Catholic Charities, as we continually strive to advance justice, we are fortunate to witness what grace comes from honoring each other in community. As with so many things, we have remarkable examples to model ourselves after — in our God, in our church, in our world and in each other.

With kindness, let us help each other respond more urgently and consistently to the inequities that hinder all our brothers and sisters from becoming everything that God has intended for them. 

If you want to make a difference, we encourage you to walk with us in our work as a Catholic organization in communities of color. Please consider donating today at


  • the voice of catholic charities
  • black history month