August 12, 2022

Springer named Ambassador of Peace for anti-racism commitment

By John Shaughnessy

Pearlette SpringerWhen Pearlette Springer was recently named as an Ambassador of Peace by Pax Christi USA, the honor recognized her for her determined efforts to fight racism—a battle she initially resisted.

“Truth to be told, I came kicking and screaming into the anti-racism efforts beginning in 2000,” says Springer, director of Black Catholic Ministry for the archdiocese.

“The beginning efforts centered around the transforming of minds. The civil rights movement on the parts of African Americans was not violent. The violence was being done to them, not vice versa. It was important to me then and now for white Catholics to understand that—to understand that racism is real, and African, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics/Latinos and Native Americans navigate those waters on a daily basis.”

Springer is one of 20 Ambassadors of Peace recently chosen by Pax Christi USA, a national Catholic peace organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The ambassadors were honored during the organization’s national conference on Aug. 5-7 in Washington, D.C.

In announcing the ambassadors, Pax Christi USA noted that their recognition honors “extraordinary and experienced leaders within the Pax Christi USA community who serve as living embodiments to our community and beyond of what it means to live a life rooted in the ‘peace of Christ.’ They are chosen for the contributions they have made in preaching, teaching and practicing Gospel nonviolence, peacemaking, anti-racism, reconciliation and justice.”

Springer says she was both surprised and grateful for the honor from Pax Christi USA, which she has served in different ways since 2001—including being the leader of its anti-racism team and serving as the chairperson of its board of directors.

In that commitment, she says, she has always strived for one goal: peace.

“For me, to arrive at authentic peace or to make a situation peaceful, the injustices or wrongs must be addressed and removed,” she says. “And to remove those injustices and wrongs, structures and sometimes people need to be challenged.

“And I have challenged Catholics in general, Pax Christi USA membership in particular, because of my membership and involvement.”

That goal continues for her as an Ambassador of Peace.

“I will continue to be me and carry the same message found in the Gospels,” she says. “The same message is found in Catholic social teachings. The same message is found in Catholic doctrine. It is about love. Love of God and love of God’s people.

“We are all created in the image and likeness of God. There is only one race, the human race. And as Catholics, we are called to be the Eucharist, the one body of Christ.” †

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