Young Black Catholics confront nature, racism and the church’s way forward

By Brian Roewe
EarthBeat
January 17, 2022

Growing up in rural South Carolina, Byron Wratee was always in nature.

His family went on camping trips, and they still do. But a lot of their time outdoors has revolved around food. As “good country folk,” how Wratee described his community in Williamsburg County, they spent much time hunting and fishing. They also grew fruits and vegetables in their garden, including squash, collard greens and watermelon — what Wratee proudly called an indigenous African fruit.

“I’m really very proud to be Black. And what it means for me, to be Black, is to just have a really close connection to the land, to grow your own food, to be in connection with nature,” he said.

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