Last weekend (May 13-15, 2022), the United States experienced multiple mass shootings in three different areas of our country. There are times when words fail to convey the impact that grotesque acts of violence have on our souls and our society. The racially motivated massacre in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday afternoon, May 14th is one of them.
Citing our condemnation, outrage, distress, and regret is not an adequate response. Rather, the evidence of white supremacist ideology in the shooter’s published manifesto must awaken all of us to the terrifying scale of racism, ever mounting in the United States. White supremacism is a death-dealing virus sweeping across the States. While it is methodically eliminating many of rights, such as voting rights, that are essential to the integrity of our democracy, it is also infecting the thinking, acting, and believing of those who are swept up in its frightening rage.
The “replacement theory” referred to by the suspect in his writings is gaining momentum. Replacement Theory is a repugnant, but widely held belief that America’s white population is being replaced by people of color. Recently Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused President Joe Biden, of cultivating the “great replacement” by enacting immigration policies “to reduce the political power of the people whose ancestors lived here, and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the Third World.” Replacement theory is also deeply anti-Semitic. It contends that Jews in particular are masterminding non-white immigration.
It is critically important that as Sisters, Associates and colleagues of our Atlantic-Midwest province, we commit ourselves to understanding replacement theory, so as to educate ourselves and engage with others in dialogue about its virulent effects on our lives and our society.
We are recommending that in response to this horrific act of racist violence we all read Heather Cox Richardson’s brief essay on the racially motivated massacre in Buffalo. In her writing she explains replacement theory, and its history in the United States. Click here for the essay. Heather Cox Richardson writes the newsletter “Letters from an American,” where she ties the day’s news to the events of the past. She is a historian and professor of American history at Boston College.
As we pray for all who have died and are fighting for their life in the aftermath of the shooting in Buffalo as well as victims of the most recent shootings in California and Milwaukee, let us pray that we can summon within ourselves, the SSND call to education that transforms, by reading, discussing, and sharing Heather Cox Richardson’s essay to our families, friends, and contacts.
Let us participate in every way we can to dismantle racism in the United States, in and throughout the extended boundaries of our Atlantic-Midwest Province and in the world.
Many blessings and peace,
Your Provincial Council,
Charmaine, Margaret, Mary, Mary Roy, Nancy and Paula