“Again” A Reflection from the CYC Office on the Death of George Floyd
Over the last few weeks, our world has been flooded by a sea of emotions regarding the death of George Floyd. Anger, fear, disappointment, hate, and rage. The one comment I hear from a lot of people is, “I can’t believe this is happening again.” Again. That is the key word.
You would think we would look at what has happened in many of our communities, just in the last few years, including the St. Louis area, and put systems in place to prevent this from happening… again.
This time is different. We can all feel it. There is a sense of urgency and resolve we haven’t seen in the past. The sheer numbers of those protesting all over the world and in every state in the U.S., not just the big cities, but small communities, got our attention. All are expressing their discontent.
The human race is hurting. We can feel the pain, the frustration and the desperation of our brothers and sisters who are mired in a racist culture. It seems like the death of George Floyd, made public for all of us to see, was the slap in the face some needed. So now that our attention is here; what can we do?
WHAT CAN THE CYC DO?
- The mission of the CYC is “Building Communities of Faith Through Sports”. We believe sports can be a great teacher of life lessons for all of our athletes. As participants in the Catholic Youth Council, we hope all of our athletes are treated equally on the field and in the gym. We are all created by God. We are expected to treat everyone with respect. Athletics should bring people together.
- We would be naïve to think racism is not an issue in our program. While the majority of our teams act in a Christian manner, at times we have seen examples of disrespectful behavior, from both parents and athletes. The racial make-up of the CYC program mirrors that of the St Louis area. When our predominantly black teams, travel to a predominantly white parish, sometimes they feel a palpable prejudice through the attitudes and comments by coaches, parents, officials and athletes. This behavior has to stop NOW.
- Many organizations, especially in sports, are using their voice to be a mechanism for change in our culture. Racism is an ingrained part of our culture we need to eliminate. The CYC is committed to being an example of the right way to treat others. We will do whatever we can to improve the racial culture of the CYC program.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Look in the mirror. Reflect on how you feel about others who are different than you. When you walk in the gym for your athletes’ game, and the other team is all black or all white, how do you feel? Prejudices or negative thoughts? Do these feelings coincide with your faith? In the absence of reflection, we fall back into the same place.
- Educate yourself. Do the work and take responsibility to learn more. Now is the time to Google the words “racism education.” There is so much good information out right now. Take the time to read or listen to those who have lived through racism. Some things will be hard to read or listen to. Do it any way. You cannot begin to understand others unless you listen to their experience and how they feel.
- Pass it on. Share what you have learned with your family. Our children are constantly battling the negative influences of their peers or the media. The foundation needs to be set at home. Our parental responsibility to our kids and to our community is to lay a solid foundation based on love and respect for others.
- Coaches, take a few minutes at each practice, and discuss life lessons. How do we treat our opponents? How do we feel about teams who look different than us and why? Why is it important to treat others the right way? Coaches, your players will often times mirror your actions and feelings. They will also remember everything you say to them. (Believe it, or not) Take advantage of your place in their lives and use it to make your athletes better people.
We have all been through a lot in 2020. We have been asked to think about our lives after the pandemic, and now we are asked to think about our world after the death of George Floyd. We pray for the Floyd family and all those who are suffering due to his death. We pray for everyone in our CYC family to ask our Lord to give us the strength to make the right decisions and to do what is best for our community. We also ask that we do not have to endure any of this… again.