FORT WAYNE — As communities across the U.S. search for solutions to the systemic racism brought to light once again in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered a reminder of “Everyone Belongs,” a book for children that reflects on the reality of racism in society through the lens of faith. “Everyone Belongs” was produced by the USCCB ad hoc Committee Against Racism; the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development; and Loyola Press for the domestic church.
In this time of renewed awareness of systemic racial injustice, this text offers an age-appropriate story that empowers young readers to reflect on the reality of racism in society and to see it through the lens of faith. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has asked that the book be used this coming school year in the schools and religious education programs of parishes in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
First released in December 2019, “Everyone Belongs” tells the story of Ray Ikanga, a young boy whose family came to the United States as refugees. As Ray begins making new friends, his excitement is interrupted and the community is shocked when Ray’s family receives a hurtful message. Inspired by Open Wide Our Hearts, the bishops’ pastoral letter against racism, “Everyone Belongs” empowers young readers to reflect on the reality of racism in society and to see it through the lens of faith. It includes free downloadable activities geared toward teaching reconciliation and the purpose of confession.
The book received international attention in the Spanish Catholic weekly publication Alfa y Omega, which belongs to the Archdiocese of Madrid under Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra. The book was also a finalist in the Young Readers Children’s Book category in the Excellence in Publishing awards presented by the Association of Catholic Publishers.
For more information or to purchase “Everyone Belongs,” visit https://store.loyolapress.com/everyone-belongs.
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