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Bending the Arc references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office showcases the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice. Full contents of the newsletter are published on this page. 
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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 After 60 Years

June 14, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The Civil Rights Act shapes our current choices and how faith calls us to advance the common good through a principled and active commitment to resist racism.

Sixty years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and signed into law after a long moral and political struggle. This act fundamentally changed the United States, enacting legal protections against racial discrimination, prohibiting discrimination in public places, integrating schools and other public facilities, and making employment discrimination illegal. Catholic and other religious communities played key roles in this effort, which offered hope to people who had been excluded from opportunities in education, housing, and employment simply based on race, color, or national origin.

These are not abstract or historical issues. As Pope Francis has said, “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding and lurks in waiting. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.” For Catholics and others of goodwill, we are called to examine our history and act now to defend the lives and dignity of all our sisters and brothers. After 60 years, what has changed and what has not? How has racial discrimination been overcome, and where and how does it continue? In particular, what are the key racial justice issues facing voters, parties, and candidates as we choose a future for our nation this November?

On June 4, a dialogue, co-sponsored with Georgetown University’s Racial Justice Institute and Center on Faith and Justice, explored how this history shapes our current choices and how faith calls us to advance the common good through a principled and active commitment to resist racism and ensure that we continue to honor and protect the essential freedoms that the Civil Rights Act enacted for all Americans 60 years ago. This recording is available now.
 

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