An Uncompromising Passionate Vision

My long journey from the cotton fields of Arkansas and the death of my twelve year old brother led me to my current work. My brother died because we were Black and poor. The local hospital refused to treat him and by the time my father could arrange transportation to go seventy-five miles to the “charity” hospital it was too late. My father lived the remainder of his life with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome caused by his death. He was enraged and immobilized by his lack of ability to save my brother. Though it would take me years to understand his subsequent protective behavior of the rest of us, I do understand now that he was determined not to lose any more children.

In a very deep spiritual and psychological part of myself, I made the promise that I would not lose any children to racism or poverty. The drive to keep that promise inspires the work that I am currently leading in the Diocese of Atlanta and the wider church. It leads me to embrace an uncompromising passionate vision about the work of racial healing, justice and reconciliation. This vision enabled me to lead the work of re-imagining the dismantling racism training, organizing memorial pilgrimages to remember the lynched, convening book studies, film screenings, conversation on race events, lectures and designing new curricular materials for the Diocese of Atlanta.

As the story of our work in Atlanta was shared throughout the wider church, it became clear to the Presiding Bishop and others that we had created a model that could be helpful to the wider church. This realization led to the establishment of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing as a collaborative partnership between the Diocese of Atlanta and the The Episcopal Church. Please visit the Center's website

- Catherine Meeks, Ph. D

Dr. Meeks is the Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing and is author of the “Living into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America.” She is also one of the speaker’s at Friday’s Joint Session on Racial Reconciliation here at General Convention.


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