Students pray for racial justice

Members+of+the+Genesis+Gospel+Choir+light+candles+during+a+litany+honoring+those+lost+by+police+violence.+The+Mass+for+Racial+Justice+was+held+in+Ignatius+Chapel+on+Oct.+23+at+9+p.m.+Photo+credit%3A+Colleen+Dulle

Members of the Genesis Gospel Choir light candles during a litany honoring those lost by police violence. The Mass for Racial Justice was held in Ignatius Chapel on Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. Photo credit: Colleen Dulle

Marisabel Rodriguez

On Oct. 23 at 9 p.m., while many were sleeping, studying or otherwise preparing for the next day, about 60 students were gathering in Bobet Hall’s Ignatius Chapel for a Mass dedicated to racial justice.

The recent tragedies regarding race, ethnicity and religion have caused great grief inthe Loyola community. This Mass displayed respect for those lost to recent police violence, which was reflected in the various prayers led by the Rev. Gregory Waldrop, S.J., as well as the hymns sung by the Genesis
Gospel Choir.

The Mass also included a litany, listing a few of the 2,200 names of men and women who have lost their lives to police violence in the past two years. All students were invited to light candles in honor of those killed, while others wrote prayers and personal hopes for racial equality on the paper leaves of a
prayer tree.

Waldrop spoke in his homily about the role the media plays in the fight to ending racial injustice.

“It’s so big. It’s so overwhelming. It is time for us to start reflecting within ourselves as opposed to [reflecting on] the media,” Waldrop said.

John Sebastian, vice president for Mission and Ministry, also gave insight on why the department chose to dedicate this Mass to racial justice.

“It’s really our way of trying to figure out a response to some of the things surrounding the media in the past few months and tensions with police, but also larger issues of race that are dominating politics at the moment. We’re happy to be able to contribute, not in the debate, but in healing the wounds,”
Sebastian said.

Johannah Williams, political sceince junior, and Moresa Robinson, music therapy freshman, both performers in the Genesis choir, reflected on their personal takeaways from the event.

“It was good to see that there are people who are committed to ending social injustice. It gives me hope; that’s a very hopeful thing. It gives me hope to see people that you don’t really know want to end social injustice, someone outside of yourself or your friend group,” Williams said.

Robinson continued, “If you don’t speak out about racial justice, it’ll stay in the same place and remain stagnant rather than move forward. Some may be ignorant on the topic. The more people speak out, the more aware they are. This has been an issue for years.”

For those interested in supporting the fight for social justice, a second Mass, otherwise known as the Martyrs Mass, will be held on Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. in the Peace Quad.