Resources for Racial Justice

In the last decades, characterized by the phenomenon of globalization and marked by the worrying resurgence of aggressive nationalism, ethnic violence and widespread phenomena of racial discrimination, human dignity has often been seriously threatened. Every upright conscience cannot but decisively condemn any racism, no matter in what heart or place it is found. Unfortunately it emerges in ever new and unexpected ways, offending and degrading the human family.

‘Racism is a sin that constitutes a serious offense against God.’

...There is need for a vast work of education to the values that exalt the dignity of the human person and safeguard his fundamental rights. The Church intends to continue her efforts in this area, and asks all believers to make their own responsible contribution of conversion of heart, sensitization and formation.”

- Pope John Paul II, Angelus, August 2001

Table of Contents

  1. Vatican, Papal, and U.S. Catholic Bishops Statements
  1. US Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism (1979) - Page 2
  2. Pope Francis on Racism and the Death of George Floyd - Page 3
  3. Vatican: Racism is a Spiritual Virus - Page 4
  4. “Open Wide Our Hearts” - US Catholic Bishops Letter on Racism - Page 6 
  5. Moving Beyond Racism - Illinois Catholic Bishops - Page 7
  1. Diocesan and Bishops’ Statements
  1. Statement of Cardinal Cupich on the Murder of George Floyd - Page 8
  2. Cardinal Cupich: “It’s Time for a National Reconciliation” - Page 9
  3. Dwell in My Love: A Pastoral Letter on Racism by Cardinal George - Page 12
  4. Night Will Be No More: Pastoral Letter on Racism by Bishop Mark Seitz - Page 13
  1. Books
  1. Books from a Catholic/Christian Perspective - Page 14
  2. Additional Books on Racism and Racial Justice - Page 19
  1. Articles
  1. Articles for the Current Moment - Page 20
  2. Black Catholic Women: Voice Embodied (National Catholic Reporter) - Page 21
  3. Rev. Bryan Massingale Articles (U.S. Catholic) - Page 22
  4. Tia Noelle Pratt - #BlackCatholicsSyllabus - Page 22
  5. Shannen Dee Williams Articles - Page 23
  1. Resources for Families and Children
  1. Books - Page 24
  2. Family Resource Roundup (Books, Podcasts, Videos) - Page 25
  1. Videos
  1. Racism in Our Streets and Structures: A Test of Faith, A Crisis for Our Nation - Page 26
  2. Videos on Antiracism and Racial Justice - Page 27
  3. Theology on Tap: The Work for Racial Justice is the Work of the Church - Page 31
  4. Interviews and Shorter Videos - Page 32
  1. Additional Resources
  1. Antiracism Resource Lists - Page 33
  2. Catholic/Christian Justice Resource Lists - Page 33
  1. Prayer - Page 34
  2. About This Resource - Page 35

Racism is a Sin

Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races. It is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. It mocks the words of Jesus: "Treat others the way you would have them treat you." Indeed, racism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.”

“Racism is not merely one sin among many; it is a radical evil that divides the human family and denies the new creation of a redeemed world. To struggle against it demands an equally radical transformation, in our own minds and hearts as well as in the structure of our society.”

The structures of our society are subtly racist, for these structures reflect the values which society upholds. They are geared to the success of the majority and the failure of the minority. Members of both groups give unwitting approval by accepting things as they are. Perhaps no single individual is to blame. The sinfulness is often anonymous but nonetheless real. The sin is social in nature in that each of us, in varying degrees, is responsible. All of us in some measure are accomplices.”

- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979

Read the full text here

Pictured: Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, a lifelong educator for racial justice, was invited to address the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1989. Her cause of canonization is before the Vatican.

Watch her full address by clicking here

Pope Francis on the Death of George Floyd and the Sin of Racism

General Audience [Full Text] - June 3, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters of the United States, I am following with great concern the painful social unrest that has been taking place in your country these days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.

Dear friends, we cannot tolerate or close our eyes on any type of racism or exclusion and pretend to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we must recognize that “the violence of the last few nights is self-destructive and self-injurious. Nothing is gained through violence and so much is lost.”

Today I join the Church of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and of all the United States, in praying for the rest of the soul of George Floyd and all the others who have lost their lives because of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the comfort of families and heartfelt friends, and pray for national reconciliation and the peace we yearn for. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and in the world.

God bless all of you and your families.

Vatican official: Racism is 'spiritual' virus that must be wiped out

By Junno Arocho Esteves - Catholic News Service

June 1, 2020

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Much like the coronavirus pandemic, racism is a "spiritual" virus that has spread throughout the world and must be eradicated, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

"I would compare (racism) to COVID-19, but it is a virus of the spirit, a cultural virus that, if not isolated, spreads quickly," Archbishop Paglia told Catholic News Service June 1.

The Italian archbishop commented on the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the United States.

Floyd, 46, was arrested by police on suspicion of forgery. Once he was handcuffed, a white officer pinned him down on the street, putting his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes. A now widely circulated video shows Floyd repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe." He appears to lose consciousness or die and was later declared dead at the hospital.

Archbishop Paglia told CNS that just as people were called to self-isolate in order to care for one another, racism can only be defeated by people caring for each other.

"Today we must start a revolution of brotherhood. We are all brothers and sisters. Brotherhood is a promise that is lacking in modern times," he said. "In my opinion, the true strength that supports us in our weakness is brotherhood and solidarity. And just as it defeats the coronavirus, it also defeats racism."

The fight against racism, he added, is done "not with violence but in the style of Martin Luther King, Jr.: with words, with culture, with faith, with humanism. It is fought the same way we fight against the coronavirus."

"It's not enough to remain silent," the Italian archbishop said. "To prevent the virus of racism from multiplying, those (who oppose racism) must also multiply." He said the United States has had a vocation of helping others, not just themselves, but "I believe they have lost" that vocation.

Archbishop Paglia said he believed Pope Francis should consider writing a document that addresses the subject of racism, a problem "all over the world." However, he also noted that the pope's 2019 letter marking the 25th anniversary of the Pontifical Academy for Life reflects on many of the same divisions that exist in the world today. In the letter, titled "The Human Community," the pope said the sense of fraternity between people and nations has been weakened by the erosion of mutual trust and "remains the unkept promise of modernity."

"Mutual distrust between individuals and peoples is being fed by an inordinate pursuit of self-interest and intense competition that can even turn violent. The gap between concern with one's own well-being and the prosperity of the larger human family seems to be stretching to the point of complete division," the pope wrote.

Archbishop Paglia told CNS that brotherhood among peoples can only be possible "if the discussion passes to the fact that we are one family of 7 billion people."

"It's not that I can say to my brother, 'I don't care about you' because he's the ninth brother and I only like the first five siblings," he said. Nevertheless, "I am convinced that there is a great mission for American Catholicism" in the country.

Click here to follow Pope Francis on Twitter

Open Wide Our Hearts: A Pastoral Letter on Racism

“Racism comes in many forms. It can be seen in deliberate, sinful acts. In recent times, we have seen bold expressions of racism by groups as well as individuals. The re-appearance of symbols of hatred, such as nooses and swastikas in public spaces, is a tragic indicator of rising racial and ethnic animus. All too often, Hispanics and African Americans, for example, face discrimination in hiring, housing, educational opportunities, and incarceration. Racial profiling frequently targets Hispanics for selective immigration enforcement practices, and African Americans, for suspected criminal activity. There is also the growing fear and harassment of persons from majority Muslim countries. Extreme nationalist ideologies are feeding the American public discourse with xenophobic rhetoric that instigates fear against foreigners, immigrants, and refugees. Finally, too often racism comes in the form of the sin of omission, when individuals, communities, and even churches remain silent and fail to act against racial injustice when it is encountered.”

Published November 2018: Read the Full Text here

Access the Study Guide: Click here

Visit the USCCB Resource Page on Combatting Racism: Click here

Moving Beyond Racism: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Illinois

Excerpted from Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself: US Bishops Speak Against Racism

Click here for full text - Released: 2001, Updated: 2014

Racism is personal, institutional, cultural and internal. Personal racism shows itself in an attitude or action taken by an individual to diminish the God-given dignity or rights of another because of race. An example of personal racism in action is the verbal or mental demeaning of African Americans simply because of their color.”

“Institutional racism allows racist attitudes or practices to shape the structures of an organization. Institutional racism reveals itself, for example, when promotions are manipulated so that African Americans are not fairly considered for certain positions.”

“Cultural racism is the extension of this sinful attitude to the mores, standards, customs, language and group life of a whole society. One culture’s ways of thinking and behaving are then regarded as the only way to live. All other social patterns are dismissed as deviations or dangers. Internalized racism is a sense of inferiority or lack of self-esteem because one belongs to a particular race. When an African American child grows up believing that to be Black is inferior, he or she is a victim of internalized racism.”

Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself includes particular reflections from the Asian, Native American, and Hispanic/Latino perspective, as well as from African-American. It also explores principles of Catholic Social Teaching as they pertain to issues racial justice.

Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the murder of George Floyd and its aftermath

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The past nights I have watched in great personal pain as the pent-up anger of our people caught fire across our country. I saw the city where I was born, the cities where I have lived, the city I pastor now, catch embers from the city where I was educated and burn. Was I horrified at the violence? Yes. But was I surprised? No.

As the saying goes, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. What did we expect when we learned that in Minneapolis, a city often hailed as a model of inclusivity, the price of a black life is a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill? When we added another name to the list of those murdered for being black or for caring about the marginalized?

I will not pretend to speak with any authority about the challenges people of color experience in our society.  I do not share the fear they put on when they and their children leave their homes every day. I do not know what it means to be “other.” But I know there is a way to fix it.  And the fix begins when we stop talking about the proportionality of “their” response and start talking about the proportionality of “ours.” Surely a nation that could put a man in space, his safety assured by the brilliance of black women, can create a fair legal system, equitable education and employment opportunities and ready access to health care. Laws do not solve problems, but they create a system where racism in all its forms is punished and playing fields are leveled.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called a great equalizer. It has been even more a great revealer of societal cancers as deadly as the virus. As others have pointed out, health insecurity kills, and poverty is poison.  We can and must make a society that views the soaring of a child’s potential with more joy than the soaring of a rocket.

I stand ready to join religious, civic, labor and business leaders in coming together to launch a new effort to bring about recovery and reconciliation in our city.  We do not need a study of the causes and effects. Those answers can be found on the shelves of government offices and academic institutions across our burning nation. No, we need to take up the hard work of healing the deep wound that has afflicted our people since the first slave ships docked on this continent. And we need to start today.

Cardinal Cupich: It’s time for a national reconciliation

By Blase Cardinal Cupich

Sunday, May 31, 2020

When news came that this past Memorial Day weekend was Chicago’s bloodiest in five years, most of the violence affecting communities of color, we had no idea how much worse the week would get.

Eight hundred miles east, a white woman walking her dog though Central Park was asked by a bird-watcher to leash the pet, as required by posted signs. The man happened to be black. She responded by promising to call the police and say that an “African-American man is threatening my life,” treating 911 as a customer-service line.

Twelve hours later and 400 miles northwest of Chicago, a Minneapolis man was arrested for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. He also happened to be black, but his encounter with a white person on Memorial Day, a police officer, ended differently. He died, after the officer knelt on his neck  for about 9 minutes — despite the man’s desperate cries for air, and, heartbreakingly, for his late mother. The man’s name was George Floyd. We must never forget it.

“We.” It is a difficult word for white Americans to use in these days when searing anguish, simmering anger and existential sorrow explode into protest, some of which descends into violence. White people must never pretend that our place is to narrate the experience of non-white Americans, let alone feel justified in simply condemning the violence against black people, or the violence that has sparked from that justifiable outrage.

No one should allow themselves to dismiss the aims of peaceful protesters because some among them exploited the anger by engaging in criminal acts. Nor should we dismiss the legitimate work of first responders and law enforcement, despite the dangerous overreactions of some against protesters and journalists reporting on these demonstrations. The responsibility of any neighbor, any citizen, especially those of us who profess belief in Jesus Christ, is to do the work of accompanying their brothers and sisters who carry this pain every day of their lives.

That work begins by understanding that when such feelings erupt they do not come from nowhere. They are the consequence of centuries of national racial injustice that began with the inhuman practice of slavery, was re-institutionalized during the Jim Crow era, and continues today with the myriad ways people of color are treated as less-than, or worse. People of color suffer discrimination and indignities not only from racist individuals, but from the very structures erected by our society that were meant to protect the vulnerable.

Americans must realize that beneath the outrage is the same aspiration all people have to freely pursue a life of meaning and flourishing. The death of George Floyd was not the sole driver of the civil unrest our nation is witnessing today. It just ignited the frustration of a people being told repeatedly in our society: “You don’t matter”; “You have no place at the table of life”  — and this painful frustration has been building since the first slave ships docked on this continent.

This is where our conversation about healing should begin, not with simple condemnations, but with facing facts. We need to ask ourselves and our elected officials: Why are black and brown people incarcerated at higher rates than whites for the same offenses? Why are people of color suffering disproportionately from the effects of the novel coronavirus? Why is our educational system failing to prepare children of color for a life in which they can flourish? Why are we still asking these questions and not moving heaven and earth to answer them, not with words, but with the systemic change it will take to finally right these wrongs?

These questions should be particularly troubling to people of faith. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops put it in its recent statement on the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests, “We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.” Citing a recent document on racism, the USCCB went on to say, “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”

Indeed, racism and its death-dealing consequences are not just offenses against our brothers and sisters as fellow human beings. They are offenses against God, the father of us all.

And how do people of faith respond when they realize they have offended God? They confess. They acknowledge their sin, express remorse and commit to doing better. But when it comes to slavery, our nation’s original sin, and racism, which continues to enslave in our time, have we done that as Americans? Have we done it as a church? Or have we more often sought comfort in the “over-there-ness” of racist acts and crimes? Have we averted our gaze by pretending that “gang-related violence” and the conditions that make it possible are not really “our problem”?

Other societies have experienced unfathomable offenses against humanity and found ways to engage the history, to admit the crimes, to hold accountable those who committed them and to move toward something resembling reconciliation: the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime, the Rwandan genocide, the crimes of South African apartheid. We Americans can do this too. We are well past overdue for such a national reconciliation and the need to account for the history of violence against people of color in this country.

Tragedy does not eradicate hope. If there is anything we Christians take from our faith, it is that even the darkest deeds can be redeemed by love. And love is what is called for now. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Not the love of transactional friendships and cheap associations made by the click of a mouse button or an easy retweet. Signpost solidarity will not do.

Only the hard work of familial love will set us on the path toward justice. The love we read about in Scripture. The love God has for his children, every one of us, even when we fail — especially when we fail. Because God knows what his children are capable of, not only how we can fail in our humanity, but even more how we can build it up. And it is up to us to show God, to show all our brothers and sisters, the neighbors we know and the ones we will never meet, how deeply we can love.

“Dwell in My Love” - A Pastoral Letter on Racism

By Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.

“For Catholics, all division ceases in the Holy Eucharist. We, who are redeemed by the Blood of Christ, are one body in Christ, his Church. As members of that one body, we are committed to resist complicity with the sin of racism and to take responsibility for correcting the wrongs of the past and of today. We can do this first by acknowledging that our society has been built on white privilege and that we must continue the work of transforming it into a home for all. There too often remains an unacknowledged and silent complicity in the sin of racism.”

“Racism is still found in varying degrees in our churches and schools, just as it haunts our city and suburbs. The combined influences of racial discrimination and social isolation, at a moment when a wealthy society should confront these problems directly, continue to make the plight of many African Americans and other people of color Chicago’s greatest shame.”

Delivered: April 4, 2001 - Click here for the full text

Night Will Be No More - Pastoral Letter on Racism

By Bishop Mark Seitz, Diocese of El Paso, Texas

“If we are honest, racism is really about advancing, shoring up, and failing to oppose a system of white privilege and advantage based on skin color. When this system begins to shape our public choices, structure our common life together and becomes a tool of class, this is rightly called institutionalized racism. Action to build this system of hate and inaction to oppose its dismantling are what we rightly call white supremacy.”

Click here for the full Pastoral Letter

“Challenging racism and white supremacy, whether in our hearts or in society, is a Christian imperative.”


Racial Justice and the Catholic Church

Rev. Bryan Massingale - Click here to purchase

Racial Justice and the Catholic Church examines the presence of racism in America from its early history through the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama. It also explores how Catholic social teaching has been used--and not used--to promote reconciliation and justice.

Massingale writes from an abiding conviction that the Catholic faith and the black experience make essential contributions in the continuing struggle against racial injustice that is the work of all people. His book is essential reading for all those concerned with justice and healing in our world.

Enfleshing Freedom: body, race, and being

M. Shawn Copeland - Click here to purchase

Black women's experience and oppression cast a completely different light on our theological theorems and pious platitudes and reveal them as a kind of mental colonization that still operates powerfully in our economic and political configurations today. Further, race and embodiment and relations of power not only reframe theological anthropology but also our notions of discipleship, church, and Christ as well. In fact, our postmodern situation - marked decidedly by the realities of race, conflict, the remains of colonizing myths, and the health of bodies—affords an opportunity to be human (and to be the body of Christ) with new clarity and effect.

The History of Black Catholics in the United States

Cyprian Davis - Click here to purchase

From the first black baptized in Africa to African American priests and clergy active in the Catholic church today, blacks have been a proud and devout pillar in the faith. Davis's groundbreaking volume sheds light on the important contributions of black community to the Catholic church throughout history.

Persons of Color and

Religious at the Same Time

Diane Batts Morrow - Click here to Purchase

Even though the Oblate Sisters of Providence were among the first women to found a religious community in the United States and the first successful community of African American sisters, they are little known outside of the African American Catholic community. In Persons of Color and Religious At The Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828-1860, Diane Batts Morrow brings these remarkable women and the antebellum black Catholic community of Baltimore to the forefront of American history.

Shoes that Fit Our Feet: Sources for a Constructive Black Theology

Dwight Hopkins - Click here to purchase

In this book, Hopkins shows the resources for Black theology within the living tradition of African-American religion and culture. Beginning with the slave narratives, Hopkins tells how slaves received their masters' faith and transformed it into a gospel of liberation. Resources include the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Authentically Black and Truly Catholic:

The Rise of Black Catholicism in the Great Migration

Matthew J. Cressler - Click here to purchase

This book tells the story of conversion and revolution among Black Catholics in twentieth-century Chicago. The Great Migration brought many Black migrants face-to-face with white missionaries for the first time and led tens of thousands of men, women, and children to become Catholic. But what it meant to be Black and Catholic changed dramatically in the late 1960s when a growing group of activists, inspired by Black Power and Vatican II, brought to life a distinctively Black way of being Catholic. This move was neither inevitable nor uncontroversial and my book shows how Black Catholic activists made Black Catholicism as we know it today and remade American Catholicism in the process.

Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics

Vincent Lloyd and Andrew Prevot, Editors 

Click to purchase

From police violence to mass incarceration, from environmental racism to micro-aggressions, the moral gravity of anti-black racism is attracting broad attention. How do Christian ideas, practices, and institutions contribute to today's struggle for racial justice? And how do they need to be reimagined in light of the challenges to white supremacy posed by today's movements for racial justice? 

Thea Bowman: Faithful and Free

Maurice J. Nutt - Click to purchase

Thea Bowman as she was: an unapologetically African American woman, a religious sister who deeply loved God and the people to whom she ministered through teaching, preaching, and singing, and who embraced the blessing of her ancestry, the wisdom of the “old folks,” and a passion for justice and equality for all God’s children.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree

James Cone - Click here to purchase

Professor James H. Cone, known as the founder of black liberation theology, was the Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Cone was an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Other books by Dr. Cone include:


The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism, and Religious Diversity in America

Jeannine Hill Fletcher - Click to purchase

How have Christian theologies of religious superiority underwritten ideologies of white supremacy in the United States? According to Hill Fletcher, the tendency of Christians to view themselves as the "chosen ones" has often been translated into racial categories as well. In other words, Christian supremacy has historically lent itself to white supremacy, with disastrous consequences.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism

Jemar Tisby - Click here to purchase

The Color of Compromise takes readers on a historical journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, covering the tragedy of Jim Crow laws and the victories of the Civil Rights era, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement.  The book uncovers the roots of sustained injustice in the American church, highlighting the cultural and institutional tables that need to be turned in order to bring about real and lasting progress between black and white people.  

The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity

Marcus Mescher - Click to purchase

What would it take to build such a culture in an American context marked by rising individualism, racial tensions, class segregation, hyperpartisanship, and echo chambers online? Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, provides a case study for overcoming fear, hatred, and trauma in order to practice Christian neighbor love that seeks solidarity.

Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

Kelly Brown Douglas - Click to purchase

The 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager in Florida, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, brought public attention to controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws. The verdict, as much as the killing, sent shock waves through the African-American community, recalling a history of similar deaths, and the long struggle for justice. On the Sunday morning following the verdict, black preachers around the country addressed the question, "Where is the justice of God? What are we to hope for?" This book is an attempt to take seriously social and theological questions raised by this and similar stories, and to answer black church people's questions of justice and faith in response to the call of God.

Knowing Christ Cruficied: The Witness of African American Religious Experience

M. Shawn Copeland - Click to purchase

Beginning with the "dark wisdom of the slaves," Shawn Copeland shows how enslaved people found in the story of Jesus both an affirmation of their humanity and a repudiation of a system that held them in bondage. She goes on to ex­plore some of the challenges to human living in a world shaped and directed by white supremacy. And finally, she presses the meaning of solidarity in the concrete circumstances of American life.

Additional Books on Racism and Racial Justice

1.) Ta-Nehisi Coates - Between the World and Me

2.) Bryan Stevenson - Just Mercy

3.) Michelle Alexander - The New Jim Crow

4.) Richard Rothstein - The Color of Law

5.) James Baldwin - The Fire Next Time

6.) Ibram X. Kendi - How to Be an Antiracist

7.) Isabel Wilkerson - The Warmth of Other Suns

8.) Wesley Lowery - They Can’t Kill Us All

9.) Ijeoma Oluo - So You Want to Talk About Race

10.) Jennifer Harvey - Raising White Kids

Other Reading Lists

a.) Time Magazine - Books to Read About Anti-Racism

b.) Chicago Public Library - Anti-Racist Reading List via Ibram Kendi

c.) UC Berkeley Greater Good Center - Anti-Racist Resource List

d.) Katie Couric - A Detailed List of Anti-Racist Resources

e.) The New York Times - These Books Can Help You Explain Racism to Kids

f.) Pax Christi USA - Anti-Racist Reading List

g.) Crowdsourced Resource - Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Selected Articles for the Current Moment

  1. Rev. Bryan Massingale - “The Assumptions of White Privilege and What We Can Do About It” (National Catholic Reporter, June 2020)
  2. Olga Segura - “How Can Catholics Help Lead the Fight Against Racism?” (America Magazine, May 2020)
  3. Bishop Mark Seitz - “Black Lives Matter” (National Catholic Reporter, June 2020)
  4. Jemar Tisby - “In the Wake of Yet More Anti-Black Violence, We Must Fight the Freeze” (Religion News Service, May 2020)
  5. Mario Powell, SJ - “How Long O Lord? Psalm 13 is the cry of black Americans” (America Magazine, June 2020)
  6. Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ - “After George Floyd’s Suffocation: A Litany for Oxygen from a Black Jesuit” (The Jesuit Post, May 2020)
  7. Jemar Tisby - “Ahmaud Arbery Died for the Indefensible Principle of White Control” (Religion News Service, May 2020)
  8. Olga Segura - “Do U.S. Bishops Really Believe Black Lives Matter?” (National Catholic Reporter, May 2020)
  9. Joseph Brown - “Black in America: I am tired” (National Catholic Reporter, June 2020)
  10. Alvin Amadi - “How Can I Explain the Color of My Skin—and Racism—to Young White Students?” (America Magazine, June 2020)
  11. Bishop Shelton Fabre - “Racial injustices ‘are a full-on attack on the dignity of human life,’ says bishops’ committee against racism chair” (Our Sunday Visitor, June 2020)
  12. Katie Grimes - “The Catholic Church & Antiblackness: An Interview with Katie Grimes, Ph.D.” (The Jesuit Post, May 2020)
  13. Dante Stewart - “Black Rage in an Anti-Black World is a Spiritual Virtue” (Sojourners, May 2020)
  14. Carol Zimmerman - “Women religious, inspired by current protests, also see long road ahead” (Catholic News Service, June 2020)
  15. Teresa Marie Cariño - “A Catholic Cry for Black Lives Matter” (National Catholic Reporter, June 2020)
  16. Katie Scott - “Oregon African American Catholics’ Legacy of Joy Amid Injustice” (Catholic Sentinel, August 2020)
  17. Tia Noelle Pratt - “There is time for the church to support black Catholics—if it has the will to do so” (America Magazine, September 2019)
  18. C. Vanessa White - “A Portrait of Black Catholicism” (America Magazine, Jan. 2018)
  19. Emma Green - “There are More Black Catholics in the U.S.A. Than Members of the A.M.E. Church” (The Atlantic, November 2017)
  20. Anthea Butler - “The U.S. Catholic Church’s Last Major Effort on Racism Was in 1979.” (The Washington Post, August 2017)
  21. John Gehring - “Confronting White Supremacy” (Commonweal Magazine, Oct. 2019)
  22. Tobias Winwright - “A Better Way to Serve and Protect” (U.S. Catholic, April 2015)
  23. Marcus Mescher - “Sports, Solidarity, and Black Lives Matter” (Millennial Journal, July 2016)

Collections of Articles

Black Catholic Women: Voice Embodied

National Catholic Reporter

National Catholic Reporter invited three Black women scholar-activists to share their experience and perspective on these times. Their response to the racism evident in our country and in the global world is rooted in their experience of struggle and spirit. Many times, their voices have been crying out in the wilderness to a society that does not wish to hear or see. Now is the time to remove the veil. What insight can they give as we all continue to journey in lament and hope? - C. Vanessa White

Part 1—Kathleen Dorsey-Bellow: “Black Catholic women: voice embodied

Part 2—Valerie D. Lewis-Mosley: “My unbridled tongue challenges iniquities that threaten Black women’s lives

Part 3—Kim R. Harris: “Black lives matter in the worshipping church

Rev. Bryan Massingale - Articles at U.S. Catholic Magazine

In addition to his research, scholarship, and instruction at Fordham University,

Fr. Bryan Massingale [Click for bio] serves as a regular columnist for U.S. Catholic Magazine and has published numerous essays on racism and racial justice.

These articles can be accessed here

Tia Noelle Pratt -


Tia Noelle Pratt, PhD,  is a higher education professional, researcher, and inclusion & diversity specialist. She received her PhD in sociology from Fordham University in 2010. A sociologist of religion by training, she is an expert in systemic racism with twenty years of experience researching and writing about how systemic racism impacts African-Americans. [Full bio here]

Click here to access her extensively researched Black Catholics Syllabus

Shannen Dee Williams

Shannen Dee Williams, PhD,  is a historian of the United States with research and teaching specializations in African- American, women's, religious, and civil rights history.

Click here to follow her on Twitter

  1. The church must make reparation for its role in slavery, segregation” (National Catholic Reporter, June 2020) - Click to read
  2. If racial justice and peace will ever be attained, it must begin in the church” (Catholic News Service - June 2020) - Click to read
  3. “What a forgotten black nun can teach us about racism and COVID-19” (America Magazine, April 2020) - Click to read
  4. The black Catholic nun every American should know” (America Magazine, March 2020) - Click to read
  5. “Black history is Catholic history” (Archdiocese of Baltimore, February 2020) - Click to read
  6. “Religious orders owning slaves isn’t new—black Catholics have emphasized this history for years” (America Magazine, August 2019) - Click to read
  7. “Black Catholics were at the forefront of the American civil rights movement” (Catholic News Service, November 2018) - Click to read
  8. Sister Antona Ebo’s lifelong struggle against white supremacy, inside and outside the Catholic Church” (America Magazine, January 2018) - Click to read
  9. “Dear U.S. Catholic Theologians: Lives of Black Women & Girls Always Matter” (Patheos, December 2014) - Click to read
  10. “Segregated Sisterhoods and the Mercurial Politics of Racial Truth-Telling” (The Feminist Wire, October 2013) - Click to read
  11. “Radical Habits: Unearthing the History of Black Catholic Nuns in the Black Freedom Struggle” (Black Women Radicals) - Click to read

Resources for Families

Everyone Belongs

Everyone Belongs empowers young readers to reflect on the reality of racism in our society, to see it through the lens of history and faith, and act towards respect, understanding, and friendship.

In this fully illustrated book for children ages 5-12, Ray Ikanga is a young boy whose family fled violence in their home country to come to the United States as refugees. The family moves into a new neighborhood and Ray begins making new friends. His excitement is interrupted, however, when someone spray paints a hurtful message on their garage: “Go home!” Everyone Belongs is a book about recognizing the value of our differences, respecting each other, and forgiveness.  Click here to purchase

a kids book about racism

Jelani Memory

Yes, this really is a kids book about racism. Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.

This is one conversation that’s never too early to start, and this book was written to be an introduction for kids on the topic. Click here to purchase and click here for Kindle

Family Resource Roundups

  1. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has assembled faith-based resources arranged by grade level and topic. You can view their age-specific materials by clicking here.

  1. The New York Times assembled a list of recommended books to talk to children about race, racism, and protests. Click here

  1. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has an expansive resource list with specific links for educators, parents, and adults. Click here to access

  1. Embrace Race, a non-profit founded in 2016, published a list of 31 books on race and racism for children and families. Click here

  1. The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education has a guide for talking with children about racism and racial incidents. Click here

  1. “Books for Littles” Project has an Anti-Racism 101 reading and resource list for kids, with age-specific recommendations. Click here

  1. Ashay By the Bay is a black-owned bookstore in Oakland, CA, that has assembled a wide-ranging list of books broken down by age and sub-topic. Click here

  1. Brittany Smith, a pre-K teacher from NJ, put together a list of children’s books that has been widely shared and celebrated on social media. Click here

  1. NPR - “Talking Race with Young Children,” includes links to articles, podcasts, and videos.

  1. UC-Berkeley Greater Good Science Center has an expansive list of antiracism resources, including a whole section for parents. Click here

  1. USA Today compiled a list of books for parents to talk to children about racism. Click here

  1. Robert Christian, co-founder of Millennial Journal, wrote “Teaching My Daughter About Racism” for Our Sunday Visitor


Georgetown University Panel - Racism in Our Streets and Structures: A Test of Faith, A Crisis for Our Nation  (June 2020)

Click to watch on Youtube


  —Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington is the only African-American archbishop in the United States and is a past president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  —Dr. Marcia Chatelain is a provost's distinguished associate professor of history and African-American studies and served as a member of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation at Georgetown University. She is author of South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (2015) and organizer of the hashtag "FergusonSyllabus".

  —Ralph McCloud is the director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ anti-poverty program. He has also served as the president of the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators and served four terms on the Fort Worth City Council and three terms as mayor pro tempore.

 —Gloria Purvis is a host of the EWTN radio show Morning Glory. She is also a board member for the Northwest Pregnancy Center, a member of the National Black Catholic Congress’ Leadership Commission on Social Justice, and chairperson for Black Catholics United for Life.


1) Fr. Bryan Massingale - Ignatian Family Teach-In 2017 - Click to watch

2) Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum - Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? Stanford TEDx Talk - Click to watch


3) Sister Patricia Chappell - Ignatian Family Teach-In 2017- Click to watch

4) Ibram Kendi - How to be an Antiracist - Click to watch


5) Rev. Bryan Massingale - “How the Church can combat racism and white privilege” (America Media, June 2020) - Click to watch

6) Sister Thea Bowman - Speech to the US Catholic Bishops (1989) -

Click to watch

7) The Church After 2020 - Click to view

What will the Catholic Church in the United States look like following a global pandemic and national demonstrations against systemic racial injustice? What might be the Church’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement? These topics and more are discussed.


  • Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Diocese of Lexington, KY
  • Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, Villanova University
  • Michael Bayer, (Producer of this resource)
  • Moderated by Dr. Daniel Cosacchi, Marywood University

Theology on Tap: The Work for Racial Justice is the Work of the Church

Week 1: “The Work for Racial Justice is the Work of the Church”

[Click to watch]

  • Bishop Mark Seitz, Diocese of El Paso, TX
  • Marisa Limón Garza, Deputy Director of the Hope Border Institute

Week 2: “How to have difficult conversations around race, privilege, and justice”  [Click to watch]

  • Sister Mumbi Kigutha, Kenyan-born advocate for refugees and part-time international consultant to Jesuit Refugee Services
  • Darius Villalobos, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)

Week 3: “The Myths of White Innocence and the History of Catholic Chicago”  [Click to watch]

  • Dr. Matthew Cressler, Professor at College of Charleston and author of the book Authentically Black and Truly Catholic

Week 4: “The Past, Present, and Future of Antiracism Work in the Church” [Click to watch]

  • Sister Anita Baird, founding director of the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Racial Justice

Shorter Videos on Race/Racism

  1. Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo - “Recognizing White Privilege” - CBS This Morning (June 2020) - Click to watch (6 minutes)
  2. Ibram Kendi - “How to talk to kids about racism and raise them to be antiracist” - CBS This Morning (June 2020) - Click to watch (6 minutes)
  3. Ta-Nehisi Coates - “We accept violence against African-Americans as normal” - PBS NewsHour (July 2015) - Click to watch (7 minutes)
  4. Ta-Nehisi Coates - “Opening Statement at U.S. Congress on Reparations” (June 2019) - Click to watch (5 minutes)
  5. Robin DiAngelo - “Why, ‘I think I’m not racist’ is only half the story” (Big Think, October 2018) - Click to watch (6 minutes)
  6. Robin DiAngelo - “Debunking the most common myths white people think about race” (NBC News, October 2018) - Click to watch (4 minutes)
  7. Rev. Bryan Massingale - “How the Church Can Combat Racism and White Privilege” (America Magazine, June 2020) - Click to watch (25 minutes)
  8. Shannen Dee Williams and C. Vanessa White - “Hidden History of Black Catholic Sisters” (Catholic Theological Union, April 2016) - Click to watch (10 minutes)

  • Click here for a list of TED talks on race and racism

Additional Antiracism Resources Lists

  1. Required Reading: A Black Catholic Syllabus - Click here
  2. Black Lives Matter - Resource List
  3. National Museum of African American Culture and History - Resource List
  4. UC-Berkeley Greater Good Center - Resource List
  5. Robin DiAngelo - White Fragility Resource List
  6. Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites - Resource List
  7. Scaffolding List of Anti-Racist Resources and Action - Working Document
  8. Crowdsourced Anti-Racism Resources - Resource List
  9. Pax Christi USA - Antiracism Resource List
  10. USCCB - Combatting Racism - Resource List
  11. USA Today - Antiracism Resource List
  12. Katie Couric - Antiracism Resource List
  13. University of Dayton - Antiracism Resource List
  14. Archdiocese of Washington - Office of African-American and African Catholics - Resources
  15. Loyola University New Orleans - Resources Addressing Racism
  16. Catholic Charities Twin Cities - CST Quotes on Racism and Racial Justice

Catholic Media Outlets

  • Fr. Bryan Massingale’s full list of published articles at U.S. Catholic- Click here
  • America Magazine’s list of articles with keyword ‘racism’ - Click here
  • National Catholic Reporter list of articles on racism - Click here
  • Commonweal Magazine list of articles on race - Click here
  • Catholic News Service list of articles mentioning racism - Click here
  • Catholic News Agency list of articles with keyword ‘racism’ - Click here
  • Our Sunday Visitor archive of articles tagged ‘racism’ - Click here
  • USCCB archive of pastoral letters on racism - Click here


  • After George Floyd’s Suffocation: A Litany for Oxygen From a Black Jesuit” by Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ (The Jesuit Post, May 2020) - Click to read

  • Black Lives Matter: Prayer Resources from Pax Christi USA - Click to access

  • Black Catholic Saints and Martyrs - The National Black Catholic Congress - Click to access

About this resource

This resource was assembled by Michael Bayer, a lay Catholic minister who holds degrees in theology from Georgetown University and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. He has served as campus minister at the University of San Francisco, University of Michigan, and University of Iowa, as a parish youth minister in the Archdiocese of Washington, as Senior Director for Youth and Young Adults in the Diocese of Raleigh, and, most recently, as Director of Evangelization and Adult Formation at St. Clement Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

This resource owes a great deal to the input of scholars, theologians, historians, and pastoral ministers around the United States, and every effort has been made to credit their contributions.

It is intended primarily for use by individuals, parishes, schools, and other faith communities that would like to draw upon the Church’s deposit of resources and teachings, to supplement the broader resource guides that have been produced as part of efforts to combat racism and dismantle white supremacy. This resource list is not intended to replace or supplant other resources produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or justice-focused organizations.

This resource is being made available free of charge, but all are encouraged to support the work of the scholars, publishers, and non-profits whose work is included. Please consider subscribing to the publications, purchasing the books, and sending financial support to organizations working to combat systemic racism.

This resource is necessarily incomplete and inadequate. Every effort has been made to attribute articles and publications, and any errors, omissions, or misstatements are unintentional.

Questions, concerns, comments, corrections and suggestions for additions should be directed to Michael Bayer (

First Draft Published: 2020 June 5

Second Draft Published: 2020 August 24