Juneteenth and UN World Refugee Day

Photos by S. Barbara Schwarz

More than 30 participants braved a very cold and windy evening to pray and commemorate World Refugee Day and Juneteenth at an event sponsored by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville.

At the event, there were special speakers including the Leadership Team’s executive assistant Candace Campbell and her husband Sean and baby daughter, Capree.  Candace reminded those gathered of the plight of our Black Sisters and Brothers in their struggles for equality with all, where we’ve come from and how things are today. “On behalf of my family we are so grateful that the Dominican Sisters of Amityville recognize events like Juneteenth,” Candace shared after the event. “My husband and I were honored that we were invited to share our views on what the day means to us. We as a race have come so far thanks to many pioneers of the African American community that have paved the way. We are hopeful that through prayer we can continue to grow as nation and come together as once despite our backgrounds…It is events like this that continue to bring awareness to the community and those around us. It is so comforting to know that regardless of color, or ethnic background we can join hands and pray together on one accord to one God.”

Matilda Parada, from El Salvador, spoke of the struggles of her family there, having lost two brothers, killed for just “speaking-up”. Refugees come to the United States seeking peace and a better life and often have to overcome struggles here, too. Matilda urged participants to vote for those politicians who support and defend the rights of all peoples.

Wilfredo Vasquez and his group of musicians added to our prayer and reflection. We thank, too, our maintenance staff for their help in setting up and taking down.

“Those of us who were present – our minds were opened,” said Sister Emily Masse, who leads the congregation’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee.  “Although things are not perfect here, we struggle to give all peoples the rights to exist without fear, so we continue to pray that God Blesses America.”