by SSND Associate Deborah Yates Bunnell
This year has been a difficult time in our world. COVID-19, the subsequent financial crisis and social unrest around the country have all touched me deeply, but have also persuaded me to undergo self-exploration and to make loving changes in my life.
I am living in Louisville, KY at a time of great sadness and unrest since the killing of Breonna Taylor here in March and of George Floyd in May in Minneapolis. These events led me to question my own place in the world and what I was or wasn’t doing. In response to my questioning, I joined the local Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter to expand my knowledge of my community and learn new ways to help with systemic racism from a white perspective.
Since joining, I completed a 10-week Zoom class on “Racial Equity: Exploring Power & Privilege” through the local Passionist Earth & Spirit Meditation Center. The books for the class were “White Fragility,” by Robin DiAngelo and “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in A World Made for Whiteness,” by Austin Channing Brown. The class used mindfulness, compassion, and conversation practices as a way to help me understand the painful truths of racial oppression and work toward racial justice.
I stepped out in faith to change to a new parish, St. William Catholic Church. The parish has a rich history of focusing on compassion, peace, and social justice. I have also joined its Peace and Social Justice Committee. I grew up in a racially divided Baltimore in the 1960s and early 1970s. This year has made me realize, in the words of Austin Channing Brown, “Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.”