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June 14, 2023

Building the Beloved Community

Addressing Racial Injustice and Finding Ways Forward

Showing the Building the Beloved Community Video

As the United States and Georgetown University prepare to commemorate Juneteenth on June 19, talk of “racial reckoning” has too often given way to business as usual or worse. This online dialogue sought to help shift national and ecclesial discussion and action to focus more directly and consistently on the belief that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, a belief that compels us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 12:31). It explored our moral obligations in our work for racial, economic, and criminal justice reform, and what our priorities should be in Washington, DC, the nation, and faith communities.

The participants explored questions such as: 

  • What steps must we take to respond to our history of racial injustice? 
  • In the wake of so many killings of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, what have we learned and where have we failed? 
  • Why is there so often indifference to the murder of individuals in the custody of police officers? 
  • How and why do poverty, environmental harm, and mass incarceration disproportionately affect people of color? 
  • How do we move the discussion forward in our Catholic community to more effectively address racial injustice?

Kimberly Mazyck (SFS’90), associate director of the Initiative, moderated the conversation.


View articles, statements, and other resources for this dialogue.


Kathleen Dorsey Bellow

Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, D.Min.

Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, Ph.D., is a Catholic theologian, professor of theology, and the director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans.

Marcia Chatelain

Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D.

Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D., was professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University and will begin teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. She is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (2021).

Rev. Stephen Thorne

Rev. Stephen Thorne, Ed.D.

Rev. Stephen Thorne, Ed.D., is chair of the Commission on Racial Healing for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and has served as a consultant for the National Black Catholic Congress and the Sub-Committee on African American Catholics for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Gabby Trejo

Gabby Trejo

Gabby Trejo is the executive director of Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) and was named one of Sacramento Bee’s 2023 Top 25 Latino Change Makers.