As the community mourns the police killing of Daunte Wright, a biracial Black man, Catholics everywhere must stand up against racism and police violence, said Redemptorist Fr. Marcel Okwara of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where Wright died.
Okwara, a parochial vicar who immigrated from Nigeria in 2007, told NCR he found Wright's death "very upsetting."
According to body camera footage, Kim Potter of the Brooklyn Center police shot and killed 20-year-old Wright on April 11 after allegedly pulling him over for an expired license plate. Potter, who had been a police officer for 26 years, claimed that Wright resisted arrest and that shooting him was an accident, according to the local news station KARE11.
"I don't understand the use of force, right on the spot on someone who is unarmed … What happened to Daunte is avoidable," Okwara said. "They should have let him go and then gone after him much later. And now another young one has been killed."
According to the Human Rights Campaign, state legislators have introduced more than 80 anti-transgender bills since Jan. 1, making 2021 a record year for such discriminatory efforts, Franciscan Fr. Daniel P. Horan points out in his most recent column. The proposed legislation covers a range of oppressive actions, including the prohibition of transgender girls and women from participating in school sports and prohibiting or even criminalizing gender-affirming care for some transgender persons.
"The flurry of gratuitous and dangerous legislative proposals, buoyed by increasing hate speech and transphobic attitudes, is a distraction from real problems like the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, rising income inequality and global climate change, to name a few," Horan writes.
Horan also gives examples of individual Catholic dioceses, bishops and the U.S. bishops' conference supporting the proposed legislation or announcing policies that target transgender people.
"While these examples of individual and corporate transphobia and anti-transgender activism on the part of church leaders represents the most contentious and visible public responses to increasing trans visibility in our communities, they are not the only Catholic responses; nor are they the most Catholic responses," Horan writes.
- In an effort to reject any legislation that acknowledges the category of LGBTQ persons, the U.S. bishops' conference has refused to support not only the Equality Act, but also the compromise Fairness for All Act.
- NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters says
there is no sugarcoating the fact that the vote at the Alabama Amazon
plant was a loss for organized labor. But like every loss, there are
lessons to be learned about future organizing efforts.
- Calling on their institutions to show strong support for LGBTQ people, Catholic college students across the U.S. have expressed disappointment in the Vatican's decree banning priests from blessing same-sex unions.
- ICYMI: Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Crookston, Minnesota, Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who had been under investigation for more than a year over allegations of mishandling cases of clergy sexual abuse.