by Adrienne Alexander & Michael N. Okińczyc-Cruz
America Magazine

As Black and Latino leaders within the church, we find ourselves at a profound crossroads. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequities and injustices that have shaped and defined the struggles for life, opportunity and freedom for Latino (or Latinx, as we co-authors prefer) and Black communities in the United States for generations. The rates of infection and death within our communities far outpace those in the white community. We are reminded once again that the pandemic of racism never stops.

Generations of policies rooted in white supremacy and economic exploitation have plundered and pillaged our communities. Millions endure low pay in the workplace, a lack of access to health care, and family separation at the hands of militarized systems of policing and deportation. If we believe in a God who yearns for justice for those who are marginalized and oppressed, we must also recognize in this same God a Spirit of resistance and an enduring passion for justice rooted in love.Black and Latino are not distinct identities for millions of people who identify as being in both communities.Tweet this

This year we have seen the Holy Spirit at work as people have taken to the streets to boldly proclaim that Black Lives Matter. For Latino people, it is vitally important to stand in solidarity. This means recognizing that Black and Latino are not distinct identities for millions of people who identify as being in both communities. It also means recognizing that not all immigrants are Latino, and that Black immigrants are also an integral part of our nation and of our church.

Movements for civil rights, just wages and dignified working conditions, the right to vote, and the elimination of Jim Crow and “Juan Crow” laws have shaped a long history of interracial solidarity in the United States. Now we must lean on those experiences.

We see signs of hope as a new generation of Black and Latino leaders show us a path forward. In our own city of Chicago, we have seen Black and Latino leaders standing together in the struggle for just wages and the right to unionize. Faith-driven Latino leaders have joined marches and proclaimed “Las Vidas Negras Importan” in their neighborhoods. And Black Catholic leaders recently joined Latino students and grassroots leaders on a pilgrimage from Chicago to El Paso to protest racist and xenophobic policies at our nation’s border…

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Photo credit: CNS photo/Kevin Mohatt, Reuters

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