Gloria Purvis and Donna Grimes are two women who receive public attention daily. Gloria is the only African American Catholic woman national broadcaster. Her show is on EWTN radio station the show is called "Morning Glory." Donna Toliver Grimes is the Associate Director of African American Affairs in the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. Watching these women excel over the years in their highly respected occupations has garnered satisfaction and healing for many Black Catholics. Lately, though, there appears to be more painkilling attacks on them personally. In this summer of 2020, their public comments have caused a great deal of backlash. However, the untoward backlash for me is more of a "Blacklash." They need love today because of the hateful attitudes targeted against their image of God and African Americans.
In the spirit of "Ubuntu," in this African culture, we learn to hold each other's hands and run together because we are a "we people." In their language, they say, "I am because we are." Therefore, after hearing how the Guadalupe Radio Network abruptly canceled the EWTN Radio show, "Morning Glory," from its lineup, these actions cut deeply. Gloria was not contacted or given an explanation. In an interview with "Our Sunday Visitor," Gloria stated, "We're faithful about the most important issues of the day, and I'm speaking about them in light of the Gospel..." It hurt her and us, who are darker than blue.
If you know Gloria, and I do, she will try her best to speak truth to power openly. She will talk about what brings about life and not death. For example, Gloria has consistently referenced the lack of understanding that because all "baby's lives matter," then "Black Lives Matter." And when someone kneels on a human's neck, or one needs a hearing aid because they fail to hear a "Black Man Cry," "I can't breathe," she will say something to bring about justice. Unfortunately, Gloria also said, "You have people who are openly hostile and angry and don't want me to talk about it anymore, so they'd like to eliminate any access I have to a platform to be able to speak. They outright deny that racism exists. They call me a race-baiter. They resort to name-calling because they don't want to confront the reality of this situation and have a conversation that is really difficult." Gloria needs love today.
On the other hand, on Aug. 13, 2020, Donna gave her opinion about the recent selection of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's presidential running mate in the Catholic News Agency (see link below) in the article titled "USCCB official 'elated' over Harris, Biden's pro-choice VP pick." In the article, Donna stated that Senator Harris was not her first choice. However, she expressed that she was happy, "I was so elated. We, the community, need good news, and this was just wonderful." Looking closely at her comment, you will see the "Ubuntu" concept. She expressed her thoughts. Donna elaborated on how "we the people" need good news, especially with the rising numbers of deaths and children being affected by COVID 19. Families are fighting with school administrations over the most effective school procedures for reopening. This has brought stress to many families.
Also, on the subject of Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church's ongoing attempts to heal the tension of racism in the church and the world, Donna got it right. For the first time, the news of a Black woman elected as a Vice Presidential candidate was good to see. Donna did not publicly endorse Kamala Harris or throw her under the bus. Donna imagines the good that could come from Kamala Harris' election, and the Biden campaign's addressing health care reform and voting-rights issues. But the author of this article took the low road and started nitpicking over the matters that Donna "did not say." This author does not know about the "Ubuntu" practice. Donna showed respect toward the dignity of the newly elected official Kamala Harris and rejoiced over her accomplishments as many other African Americans. Mommy said, "If you can't say something good about someone, say nothing at all." Donna needs Love today.
Here, let's finish the lyrics of Stevie Wonder's inspiring song. In giving love today, Stevie Wonder said, "give it right away." Church, Black Catholics, let's love these two sisters who are sitting in board meetings with high governing officials by themselves culturally. Send love letters to their authorities showing support even though many shoot them down with their words, or cut them with poisonous eyes, or racist thoughts. And yet Mayo Angelou said, "Like air, they rise." Stevie continues to say, "Hate is going around breaking many hearts." In their respective workplaces, Gloria and Donna, I am sure, experience micro-validation.
When you are the lone chocolate chip in the vanilla shake, people rarely validate the good works you do. Your work can be a whitewash, and this is heartbreaking. And as a national African American speaker, I know this feeling. Hearing a friendly voice that confirms God's gifts, a familiar sound of Love is a Balm in Gilead. Church, Paul said, "Love is patient, Love is kind. It is not jealous, ... It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. So faith, hope, Love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love." (1 Cor. 13:1-13). Confirm our two sisters today. Please do not delay. Send faith, hope, prayers, joy, strength, letters of affirmation, and love to them. Show EWTN and the USCCB how much we support our sisters from another mother. Write a message today.
3 Day of Kwanzaa "Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and solve them together."
"Let the church roll on." Bishop Cheri.
Author: Evangelist Michael P. Howard, M. A.