Bay Area Faith Leaders Visit Vatican, Meet Pope’s Advisors About Racism in America


More than a dozen faith leaders and organizers with the PICO National Network from across the U.S. including Berkeley Pastor Michael McBride, are at the Vatican in Rome for a series of meetings this week with Pope Francis’ top advisors to pull the veil off economic exclusion and racism and to deepen the narrative, in advance of the papal visit, about what is really hurting families in America.


African American and Latino delegation members with PICO, heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, are testifying before the Pope’s advisors specifically about the sins of racial oppression in the U.S. and the need to strengthen the voice of the Roman Catholic Church on these issues intensified by economic exclusion.


In an article in the Huffington Post, Pastor McBride and Rev. Traci Blackmon of Florissant, MO, wrote:


“Through a friendship and ministerial partnership, forged in the crucible of the Ferguson uprising, we have traveled to many communities, joining a chorus of clergy leaders and faith-based networks, prophetically calling the systems of racial oppression to account,” they wrote.



“We are taking that same message we’ve spread in the United States to leaders at the Vatican,” they wrote. “The voices leading the Black Lives Matter movement that call out to us from the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Detroit and New Orleans, are calling out to the largest religious institution in the world for a response,” Rev. Blackmon and Pastor McBride wrote.



“This week we are carrying with us the stories of wailing mothers, angry youth, terrorized fathers, exploited women, marginalized families and vulnerable communities,” the article continued. “We are naming the sins of racial oppression made concrete through economic exploitation.”


For the full article, go to Huffington Post.


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