Jesuits in Edinburgh take a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

The photo shows members of the Edinburgh Jesuit community adding our prayer and a public gesture of solidarity to the “Black Lives Matter” movement taking place around the world.

At Mass on Sunday we prayed for racial harmony and for racial justice. We then gathered in front of Sacred Heart Church at the same time that people in Edinburgh were assembling for a peaceful demonstration in Holyrood Park.

Like so many prosperous cities in the United Kingdom Edinburgh has its own history of involvement in slavery and its citizens are more aware than ever of the need to recognise that history and where possible to make amendments.

As one example, the monument to Henry Dundas (Lord Melville) which towers over St Andrews Square will soon have a plaque at its base to remind people of his role in prolonging the slave trade in the 1800s when he held the office of First Lord of the Admiralty.

Our own community of seven Jesuits represents a considerable diversity of national backgrounds and as we kneel in solidarity with the renewed call for racial equality we remember how human history has been tainted in every land by the stain of racism.

Behind us is the image of a dove. For Christians it symbolises the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost, making of many nations a single people. For all of us it is the traditional symbol of peace and at this time of turmoil we remember that where there is no justice there can be no peace.

In union with other churches, with civic leaders and community organisers and with all people of good will, we continue to pray for peace and to work for justice.

Written by Fr William Pearsall SJ, a member of the Jesuit community in Edinburgh