The brutal murder of George Floyd and other black Americans and the ensuing unrest across our country and in our own city in recent days have highlighted the injustices that persist among us. Our hearts are deeply troubled as we witness the brokenness of our society. We denounce the evil of racism wherever it exists, and join our voices with those who speak out in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color at this time.
The words of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph challenge us to take these issues as seriously as we would any other threat to human life and dignity:
Racism is America's original sin. It is a virus every bit as deadly as COVID-19 that has infected our nation since its inception and until we address it, people of color will continue to die, and our nation will never heal. Racism, whether the institutional racism which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of microaggressions, hate, and discrimination, diminishes us all.
The resilience and well-being of humanity depends upon us dismantling these systemic, structural, and cultural realities of white supremacy, endemic to the fabric of our country. We commit ourselves to the creation of the "One Sacred Community," where all people are treated as the sacred creation that they are. Racism denies that most profound truth, that all of us are created in God's image and each of us is entitled to dignity and respect.
As women religious and their partners in mission, we acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We pray for our nation's healing, yet we know that is not enough. We ask forgiveness of people of color - without expecting or requiring it - to move into action. It is time for bold, decisive action - it is long past time to dismantle white privilege and rededicate ourselves to building God's beloved community.
The Character of a Saint Joseph Academy Graduate calls for the cultivation of Empathetic Justice: that is, "Devoted to doing justice with compassion and respect for others, she (the Saint Joseph Academy graduate) works for systemic change to bring about global equality." We recognize that without concern for justice, we cannot truly be agents of God's unifying love in our broken world.
We pledge to work hard to create a culture and environment that lifts up the value of each person in our school community and our world. Our call to action remains rooted in our need to see past our own perspective and to reach out to the dear neighbor without distinction as we work to bring all people into greater unity with one another and with God. We know we have work to do in this regard, and we pray for the wisdom and courage to live up to this call.
Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis '71