Submitted by Denise Duval

Dear AFRO Editor,

On December 2, the Black Lives Matter banner on Corpus Christi Catholic Church at the corner of Mount Royal and W. Lafayette Avenues in Baltimore was set on fire under cover of night. This was the second time someone had vandalized our banner. Just last week, Black Lives Matter signs and banners were pulled down and destroyed at churches in Washington DC.

As Baltimoreans and as people of God, how will we respond to these acts of racism and denigration to our sacred spaces? At Corpus Christi, we will start by replacing our sign. But that is only a start. As people of God, we must go far beyond simply proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and work harder to demonstrate it.   

In a recent article titled “How Church Teaching Can Help Explain Why ‘Black Lives Matter,’” published in America magazine, Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori stated “racism remains manifest in our society and in our church. The words, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ should prompt us to examine our own consciences with regard to racism and spur us on to advocate and work for racial justice.” In these tumultuous times, we must redouble our efforts to affirm the dignity and worth of Black lives by working to eradicate our own individual biases and by working collectively to build a society based on truth and love. 

Working for racial justice means standing in solidarity with African American leaders to support important criminal justice and police reform legislation in the upcoming Maryland General Assembly. It means calling on legislators to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Kirwan Commission’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in order to ensure that all children have access to world-class education. It means insisting on racial equity in our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our places of worship. And ultimately, it means truth-telling about the horrors of anti-Black racism and reparations for those hurt by it. 

During this Advent season, as we await the return of the light and the birth of a child, let us continue to say Black Lives Matter. And, as one of our Catholic hymns proclaims, “Let us build the City of God. May our tears be turned into dancing!”

Denise Duval is a Baltimore attorney, a parishioner at Corpus Christi Church, a member of the Racial Justice Circle and a board member of Reconcile Baltimore.