The Commission works with parishes, institutions, groups, associations and schools to promote racial equality and inclusion in the Archdiocese of Southwark.
The road map of the Commission is to involve everyone in our parishes, schools and institutions to celebrate the beauty of our diversity, appreciate the importance of our equality before God, welcome and cherish everyone in our communities without any form of exclusion due to a person’s origin, race or culture.
Our Purpose and Mission
We had just celebrated the 25th anniversary of Racial Justice Sunday in February 2020. A few months later, in May 2020, the world witnessed the tragic and unjust death of George Floyd in the United States of America, which sparked a wave of protests, emotions and a global awareness of what the circumstances represented.
In reaction, Pope Francis invited all through his encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti [literarily translated, “We are All Brothers”], to actively oppose racism and pursue racial justice with renewed vigour (FT 25 and 235). In the same vain, Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Lead Bishop for Racial Justice at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, highlighted the fact that Racism is 'a sin and violation of human dignity'. Furthermore, Bishop Paul explored how we might recognise the dignity of each brother and sister by valuing diversity and looking for new ways to support different sections of the community.
In the Archdiocese of Southwark, Archbishop John Wilson responded at the spur of the moment and in conformity to the theme of Racial Justice Sunday 2021, 'A Time to Act', by creating a new diocesan Commission for Promoting Racial and Cultural Inclusion, chaired by Canon Victor Darlington, Episcopal Vicar for the South East. This gave rise to a series of reflections and actions within and across the borders of our individual and collective walls, be it in our families, parish communities, schools and institutions in the diocese.
The first 10-member Commission was formally inaugurated on Friday 29 January 2021. The mission was to identify, address and speak out against the evil of racism where it exists, and also explore ways to listen, accompany and support victims of racism, with a view to eliminating this infringement on human dignity within the archdiocese.