As we get into this, I’m not sure the term “Afro-American” is in vogue any longer. But this is what the translation from the original Spanish afroamericanos gives us. Nestled in this paragraph is a quote from the 1992 conference. Let’s read:
532. Following Jesus in our continent also involves acknowledging Afro-Americans as a challenge posed to us to live the true love of God and of neighbor. Being disciples and missionaries means taking on the Father’s attitude of compassion and care, which are manifested in the liberating action of Jesus.
The Church defends the genuine human values of all peoples, especially of those who are oppressed, defenseless, and excluded as they confront the overwhelming power of the structures of sin manifested in modern society.(Santo Domingo Document 243)
Being familiar with the cultural values, history, and traditions of Afro-Americans, and entering in fraternal respectful dialogue with them is an important step in the Church’s evangelizing mission. In doing so, we find company in the witness of St. Peter Claver.
Enslavement is no longer the core issue for those kidnapped from Africa, but persistent racism as well as human trafficking are still a part of the American experience.
For deeper examination, check an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.