Pope Francis on Sunday denounced racism, likening it to a virus that lurks, then surfaces to show that "our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive" as people think. Francis tweeted on racism on the date that the United Nations marks as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The pope likened racism to "a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting," the AP reports. "Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think," Francis tweeted, adding the hashtags #FightRacism #FratelliTutti. "Fratelli Tutti'' is the title of the encyclical, or special teaching document, that the pope issued last year during the COVID-19 pandemic to press for solidarity, brotherhood, and care for the environment worldwide.
In his tweet, Francis cited no particular instance of racism or place. Throughout his papacy, he has championed the rights of people who are marginalized in societies, including migrants. The annual UN commemoration on March 21 falls on the anniversary of the day that police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws in 1960. In the pope's weekly remarks at the Vatican, per the AP, he urged more efforts to ensure all people have access to clean drinking water. He said water "isn't some good of commerce but a "fount of life and of health," per the AP. "I thank and encourage all who, from various professions and responsibilities, work for such an important aim." In particular, he cited those in his homeland, Argentina, who are working on such water projects. The World Health Organization says some 2 billion people use a source of drinking water that is contaminated with feces.
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