June: Racial Justice

Listen as a podcast!

How do we deal with our country’s racist history and the long-term consequences? How do we support racial justice today and work to become an anti-racist society? And how does racial justice intersect with the critical issues of migration and climate we also face? Join us as our next episode of “Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on Racism, Migration and Climate”—airing live at 3 p.m. Central on Wednesday, June 9—addresses these issues and more. Our three panelists, Emily Lazor; Sister Patricia Rogers, OP; and Sister Mary Lou Specha, PBVM, will bring diverse perspectives and personal experiences to the table as they engage with host Charish Badzinski in lively and eye-opening conversation. Registration is free and open to the public.

Panelists: Emily Lazor, Patricia Rogers, OP, Mary Lou Specha, PBVM – Learn more about our panelists below.
Host: Charish Badzinski

  1. Start a discussion group in your parish to read and talk about the book: Racial Justice and the Catholic Church by Father Bryan Massingale.
  2. Not only people of color, but also white people have to figure out and share their story when it comes to racial incidents – how did they honestly feel and react.
  3. Attend a training on systemic racism – at least three days or more.

Center for Racial Justice in Education
The Center for Racial Justice in Education’s mission is to train and empower educators to dismantle patterns of racism and injustice in our schools and communities. At the Center for Racial Justice in Education, we envision a world where all young people learn and thrive in racially equitable, liberating, and empowering educational spaces.

Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training
Crossroads’ mission is to equip institutions with shared language, frameworks, practices and tools that will assist them in:diagnosing how their institutions are structured to uphold white supremacy culture and systemic racism and deploying strategies aimed at animating antiracist ways of being that result in racially equitable institutional culture and practices.

Eliminating Racism & Claiming/Celebrating Equality
The mission of ERACCE is to eliminate systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within Michigan institutions by providing education, networking, technical assistance, and supportive resources to the region.

The Disconnect in How We Tell History
“There are people still alive today who loved who were raised by, who knew, who were in community with people who had been born into chattel slavery. And I think when you realize our proximity to that, you gain a different understanding of how the idea that what our society and what our country looks like today would not be impacted by that is both morally and intellectually disingenuous.”

Project Implicit
Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.

The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America
In his new book, The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America, the scholar and public health researcher illuminates the process of “spatial racism,” a force that has bound oppression up with the geography that African Americans occupy, and the public health effects of this historical trauma

Meet Our Panelists

Emily Lazor
Teacher, Advocate
Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep

Born and raised in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Emily Lazor has been a lifelong advocate in the pursuit of racial justice within the Catholic Church and its teachings. With an education in Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America and a Master’s in Education from Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teaching Fellows program, Emily began teaching in Jackson, Mississippi, where she soon discovered her passion for teaching high school-age students and helping them to realize their developing social awareness. 

Growing up biracial with very different personal experiences in both Asian-American and white arenas, Emily has felt especially drawn to work that helps hold white Catholics accountable and committed to the Church’s call to racial justice. 

Currently teaching AP Seminar and AP Research at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Emily works with predominantly first-generation Mexican-American students as they pursue academic research around topics related to the common good and social justice.

Patricia Rogers, OP
Executive Director, Dominican Center for Women, Inc.
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa

Sister Patricia Rogers, OP, Executive Director of the Dominican Center for Women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is dedicated to resident-led community development, providing support to the Amani residents in the critical areas of safety, housing, economic development, education and family well-being.

In her senior year of high school, Sister Patricia was one of ten students to integrate the all-white Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas. While a layperson teaching in a predominantly Black Catholic high school in Chicago, she prayed for God’s intervention for a Sister of color to join the white Sisters; God called her to fill the void. Her call to religious life led Sister Patricia to the Motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominicans in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin; she then served in the cities of Milwaukee, Tuskegee and Montgomery, St. Louis and New Orleans.

Upon Sister Patricia’s return to Milwaukee, she was co-chair for ARTT (the Sinsinawa Antiracism Transformational Team) for five years. Today, she serves on the leadership team of COLE (Coalition on Lead Emergency), which helps in creating a sustainable lead-safe environment in Milwaukee.

Mary Lou Specha, PBVM
Executive Director, Hotel Hope New Orleans
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sister Mary Lou Specha, a member of the Sisters Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary congregation, has been in New Orleans since 2008.  A leader in the nonprofit and civic community, Sister Mary Lou was previously Executive Director of Café Reconcile, a nonprofit organization committed to interrupting the cycle of generational poverty and violence in New Orleans. Presently, she is Executive Director of Hotel Hope, an organization serving the most vulnerable in the community: women. Whatever the societal or economic barriers– homelessness, abuse, incarceration, poverty, behavioral health issues, lack of education or jobs – Hotel Hope’s programs and services are designed to promote and provide equal opportunities and a path to self-sufficiency in the lives of all women and their families.

Sister Mary Lou has served on the Police Community Advisory Board to help reduce crime, address issues of bias-based policing and improve interaction between the NOPD and citizens.  She lives in Central City, an economically challenged neighborhood in New Orleans, where she is committed to neighborhood revitalization and diligent in addressing systemic racism and racial injustice in her ministry and daily interactions.  

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