I came across an article that ushered today’s musing. The authors concluded that ‘minority youth have access to valuable resources within their families and communities, yet in the general population, these youth have poorer outcomes than their majority counterparts.’ This conflict between what minority youth have and how they fare, is a conflict that ought to remain a conflict but with attempts at solutions. It’s a conflict that should make all of us in this line of work uneasy, troubled, restless, until we permit harmony in a life for minority youth at risk for numerous negative outcomes. The statistics are dire and I won’t belabor you with them for I want solutions. There must have been a time when access to valuable resources protected the lives of minority youth, protects them still. How do we get back there? How do we move forward from there? What will it take so that this harmony is realized?

A small remnant of these resources can be observed in Black churches where other mothers cater to every child as if it where their own. It’s the very reason why I am always on the look out for one, a Black Catholic Church whenever I am in a new town. They have been a source of community, where myself and my children feel welcomed, feel safe, feel warmth, even from strangers we are meeting for the first time. We tried a non Black Catholic Church yesterday for Good Friday. Our church’s service was at 6pm and with four children, time was of the essence. So I looked around our neighborhood for any mass at 3pm, the time when Good Friday services are performed. We were the only Black family in attendance. The stares where intense. Not the kind that is welcoming, but the kind prepared to annihilate. It didn’t help that this was baby’s second time in church so he screamed and cried and the stares grew louder if only they could speak.

I took the boys outside and spent a good portion of time outside. By the time service was ended, I promised myself never to be back. It’s for this reason I truly value my Black Catholic Church. Sometimes one needs to step outside their comfort zone to truly appreciate what one has and the black church is full of resources that will keep any minority child and their parent feel warmth. Maybe it’s the strong sense of identity. Everything evokes a black presence, down to the saints plastered around the church. Plus belonging and connection to a people, a place, one’s peers. Strong familial ties, generations, multiple ones, protect and provide stability and positive well-being, even mental health outcomes. And yes, the church service is only about 2 hours or so. It’s is all worth it considering the benefits. And the benefits are endless, so too are the possibilities. Which is why for minority youth, keep the Black church in mind. It’s has endless valuable resources that matter for their overall positive outcomes.

At our church, even our Nativity scene, evokes our presence, evokes our identity.