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Georgetown dialogue will center racial justice and the 'Beloved Community'

The virtual event will feature Black Catholic panelists from DC, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

(Georgetown Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life/Twitter)

Ahead of Juneteenth, Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life will host several Black Catholic scholars from around the country for a webinar discussing the call to end racism and preserve human dignity.

Entitled “Building the Beloved Community: Addressing Racial Injustice and Finding Ways Forward,” the event was announced this week and will take place on Wednesday, June 14.

“This online dialogue will seek to help shift national and ecclesial discussion and action to focus more directly and consistently on the belief that we are all made in the image and likeness of God,” reads an event description.

“It will explore our moral obligations in our work for racial, economic, and criminal justice reform, and what our priorities should be in Washington, DC, the nation, and faith communities.”

Participants will include Dr. Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, the director of Xavier University of Louisiana's Institute for Black Catholic Studies, a summer intensive program offering a master's degree in theology as well as continuing education and enrichment courses. She has served in the role since 2019.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Marcia Chatelain will also be on the panel and is currently a professor at Georgetown. She is noted as having pioneered the #FergusonSyllabus in the wake of the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and is the author of two highly acclaimed books. Her latest, “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” covers the history of McDonald’s restaurants in the Black community.

Also participating will be Fr Stephen Thorne, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who served in campus ministry at Trinity Washington University during the 2022-23 academic year. He was a founding doctoral/educational fellow in the Center for Research & Mentoring of Black Male Students & Teachers at Bowie State University in Maryland and has served as a consultant for the National Black Catholic Congress and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Gabby Trejo, the executive director of the interfaith social justice outfit Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT), will also join the discussion. She has worked with her organization since 2017 and has recently made headlines as an advocate for migrants in her city, many of whom were sent from Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trejo was named earlier this year as one of the Sacramento Bee’s Top 25 Latino Change Makers.

Moderating the dialogue will be Kimberly Mazyck, a Black Catholic and Georgetown alum who serves as associate director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. Founded in 2013, the organization holds frequent in-person and virtual gatherings on a variety of issues related to “poverty, Catholic social thought, polarization, lay leadership, and advancing Pope Francis' mission and message,” according to their website.

“These dialogues bring honest and faithful discussion to a hurting Church and a divided nation.”

Wednesday’s virtual event will begin online at 12:30pm ET and will be recorded. Registration is required and can be completed on the Initiative’s website.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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