African-American communities drive innovation

Re: “Careful when using the word ‘racism’” (Letters to the Editor, Sept. 14).

In reality, the landscape of our diverse communities are so much more complex. Another, more balanced perspective is clearly needed. The values of the African-American community is what fuels innovation, entrepreneurship, social justice and democratic idealism. It was the values of this culture that expanded basic human rights in this country against the backdrop of violent injustice and oppression. It was the values of this culture that expanded notions of basic human rights worldwide at a time when many of the Axis powers in Europe were savagely engaged in world war.  

At the end of the day, inner cities are often the economic force within the country, the driver of innovation and change.

Michael G. Duley, Philadelphia

Welcome back

Re: “Homecoming” (Catholic Journal, Sept. 21).

It’s very good to read Bob Lockwood’s thoughts again; wonderful of you to share the benefits. Thank you, Bob. You’re the best.

Mitch Finley, via online comment

Racial issues

Re: “A last casualty” (Editorial, Aug. 31).

Yes, I agree that we still have a racial problem in this country, but I don’t agree that the racial problem is all the fault of Caucasians against blacks or against other “people of color.”

I recently received an email with information about law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty since the beginning of May. I checked each officer’s name on the Internet, and sure enough, there was at least one news article on each death, including a photo of the officer that showed whether he or she was black, white, hispanic, etc., and a picture of the alleged killer, including a photo that showed his or her color.

Where’s the outrage in these cases? In my research, I didn’t read any news reports that indicated there was any rioting, protesting, looting, etc., after these officers’ deaths! In all but one case, the officer was white and the alleged killer was black. In the other case, the officer was black and the alleged killer was white.

I served alongside military members of many races, cultures and backgrounds during my more than 22 1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force, and I never felt anything but admiration for those who did their jobs, regardless of their race, color or culture.

Clara Locher, Sabetha, Kansas

Immigrants need help

Re: “End illegal immigration” (Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31).

We believe “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation” (USCCB, Pastoral Letter Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, November 2007). As good citizens, we don’t condone lawbreaking or wrongdoing in any form, including illegal immigration, while at the same time, we work (politically and otherwise) for a more just society. However, focusing primarily on the issue of our illegal visitors does not take us to our shared Catholic goals. Let’s not get stuck in condemning these refugees as to how “illegal” they are. Let us instead address the source of the human tragedy of these people and respond as Catholics, in the spirit of Christ.

So many of these people are in crisis in their Central American communities, whether from persecution or economic hardship. We hear that they experience exploitation, injustice, violence to a degree we can hardly imagine. Thus, they come to us as refugees. They need our help.

We are called to mission, i.e., faith working through love in the Holy Spirit. “The Joy Of The Gospel” reminds us that “Works of love directed to one’s neighbor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Spirit” (No. 37). We are therefore called to mission, in Guatemala, in Honduras, in El Salvador, and throughout Central America to aid these people. We’re called to aid them there, so they aren’t compelled to flee their homelands at great risks to come here.

Steve Dwight, Brandon, Florida
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