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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

714 We must continue our stride for equality because we have not reached that gateway yet

Day 714 Monday, February 28, 2022

As we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, we must continue their stride for equality because we have not reached that gateway yet.

(This is the last day of Black History Month and we continue to strive to understand the depth of racism in our country and examine our consciences for racial bias all year long)

Diane Nash: Civil Rights Leader of My Generation

Reflection by Nita Clarke, Network

As I watched the evening news with my parents and saw reports on the Civil Rights activities of the early 1960s, human rights activist Diane Nash was coordinating peaceful sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. The success of the sit-ins in Tennessee and North Carolina, along with her participation with the Freedom Riders, would bring Nash to the forefront of the student campaign of the Civil Rights Movement and her co-founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

As we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, we must continue their stride for equality because we have not reached that gateway yet. “Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders,” Nash said. As a member of my generation, her story resonates with my own and challenges me still.

(Diane Nash in Louisville, Kentucky, February 1963)

As the product of a military family, living most of my childhood on military bases, I experienced overt racism only when visiting or traveling to my southern roots in Louisiana. Diane Nash was born in 1938 to a middle-class Catholic family and raised in Chicago. “Because I grew up in Chicago, I didn’t have an emotional relationship to segregation. I understood the facts and stories, but there was no emotional relationship,” she later noted.

Nash chose to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. but after one year transferred to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she would experience the intensity of Jim Crow laws and the efforts of Black people to gain their equal rights. She was furious but used her anger against segregation to become a renowned activist.

While traveling to my tiny hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, my family met with racism at motels, restaurants, and gas stations as we motored across country from Army Base to Army Base. My parents would trade off driving all night long to avoid having to search for a hotel that welcomed Black people.

They also packed lunches in a cooler to avoid trying to find a restaurant that would serve us. When having to stop for gas, we were forced to either use the filthy restrooms for “coloreds” or stopped alongside of the highway while my father stood guard.

“Diane, you’ve gotten in with the wrong people!” Nash’s grandmother said to her about her affiliation with the Civil Rights Movement. But Nash was not only affiliated with the movement, she had become a leader. She encouraged the students in Nashville to protest the segregated lunch counters by sitting peacefully in seats, while being beaten, where paying white customers would usually sit.

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), co-founded by Nash, was also founded in 1960 because of the student sit-ins and became the major channel of participation for the students in the Civil Rights Movement. Members of the SNCC worked closely with other major organizations such as the National Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Nashville became the first southern city to desegregate lunch counters in the United States.

Nash would meet and marry James Bevel, a Minister as well as a Civil Rights Activist, in 1961. They would have two children.

In 1961, Nash was arrested for “contributing to the delinquency of minors,” because she led young people in the fight against segregation. She would be arrested many times including spending 30 days in jail in South Carolina and once while she was six months pregnant.

On May 1, 1961, 13 activists joined together to plan one of the most dangerous challenges to segregation; the Freedom Riders, a non-violent protest designed to end segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals. The protesters began in Washington and traveled throughout the South on Greyhound and Trailway buses.

When the buses were burned and the Freedom Riders beaten by white mobs, the Nashville Student Central Committee was alerted, and Diane Nash led the new group.

Because of the violence that the Freedom Riders were subjected to, Attorney General Robert Kennedy objected to the protests and had his assistant, John Seigenthaler, speak to Nash directly. Nash explained that the Freedom Riders were well aware of the dangers they faced and had even written their wills, in case they died on one of the rides, and given them to Nash.

In 1963, after the bombing of the church in Birmingham, Alabama, and the death of four little girls, Diane Nash and her husband took on the issue of voting rights. Nash was also a member of the committee that promoted the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today, at 83 years of age, Nash still advocates for fair housing in Chicago, where she works in real estate.

All of these issues are still with and demand our urgent attention and participation today.

Nita Clarke is a Black Catholic writer who attends St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Lexington, Kentucky.


The Synod at Emmaus: A Time for reflection and deep listening

Each of us has a story to tell about our faith journey, our experience with the Church and our decisions to join an intentional faith community. Let's share our experiences! Please let Enid Macken ( know if you are interested in participating in a more in-depth discussion via ZOOM. Our comments will be submitted to the Vatican as part of the listening phase of the synod. Enid has scheduled a ZOOM meeting for March 20th, the 3rd Sunday of March starting at 4:00PM. Please let Enid know if this is a convenient day for you.

Announcement #2

Green California! from JoAnn

Hi Emmaus: here is the link to February 16's recorded meeting of Romero Institute "Circle of 100". Danny Sheehan, Dolores Huerta and Sara Nelson, Danny's wife speak. This will give all a sense of what Romero Institute is doing for the upcoming Bill for Green Cal and how we might take part in the effort.

Link to C100 Video (2/16/22):

On Wednesday, JoAnn will send us the link for Wednesday evening's meeting at 7:00 PM when Danny will again speak and tell us more specifically what we can do. They are asking us to bring interested participants. Steve Lyman came to last week's meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENT #3: From Victoria

The FCM Faith Communities Committee invites you to participate in the FCM Faith Communities Zoom Networking Session this Tuesday, March 1 to share your thoughts, understanding and experiences on the “Importance of Faith communities in the Lives of FCM Members.”

I have been asked to facilitate this session, and I would really appreciate it if as many of our Emmaus folks would participate and share their thoughts on their experiences of being in our Emmaus Community.


Importance of Faith Communities in the Lives of FCM Members

1. What feeds and/or nourishes your soul?

2. What would bolster your faith life

3. What does community mean to you?

The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles H. Vogl

PP. Preface - P. 28

Day and Time:

Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 8-9:15 pm EST. Please note, we will begin promptly at 8 pm EST and end promptly at 9:15 pm EST. Please note: we have added 15 minutes to the discussion.


Please RSVP via email to Ginny Cusack, FCMFC Coordinator at by Monday, February 28, 2022, if you plan to attend.

Zoom: All sessions will be on Zoom. If you have not been on Zoom and you need assistance, please email Ginny Cusack at before February 28 so she can walk you through the simple process of accessing the zoom meeting. She will be unable to help you the night of the sessions.

Here is the zoom link for Tuesday, March 1 2022

Meeting ID: 818 1466 9170

One tap mobile

+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

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