St. Charles Borromeo Church Works to Combat Racism Through Open Dialogue on Race in America

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Crux, Faith, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY, Racism

By Jessica Easthope

The Catholic Church is sending a strong message against racism, in the Diocese of Brooklyn, the sin is being fought off with love.

“If the church loves and encourages people to love each other then we deal with the basic issue,” said Father Bill Smith the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

Fr. Bill is leading by example, encouraging his parishioners to address racism by talking about their experiences.

“We become human by community and building up and strengthening relationships, who else can do that but the Church,” he asked.

Recently, following a Zoom prayer service, parishioners listened to the experiences of one of their own.

“I respect police but I’d be lying to you if I had interactions with police where I knew if my skin color was different it would not have happened,” said Tevin Williams a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo.

Tevin is a new Catholic and a new New Yorker — he was confirmed last year, and recently put down roots in the city after leaving the south.

“The loving piece of me being a Catholic and having these conversations with my brothers and sisters in Christ is not something I can say I have seen in the south,” Tevin said.

He says that thanks to his parish community, he’s better able to cope with the racial unrest sweeping the nation.

“I’m thankful that I am a Catholic right now, it is God’s will that I’m here in this parish and enlightening some people and telling them my experience,” said Tevin.

Tevin said Fr. Bill is the kind of leader every parish needs, allowing for a safe space to discuss hard truths about race and overcome each other’s differences.

“I hope that we can come together as Catholics and understand that we may be different in skin tone but we are all bound by one heart,” said Tevin. “But, we also understand the reality.”