The events of the past few days have left us heartbroken. Sadly, the scourge of racism in this country persists with tragic, and far too often, fatal consequences. We remember and we mourn for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all those who have been victims of hatred and violence. But more than that, we pledge to be part of the solution – which must be to educate our young men in the ways of truth and social justice. We hold the young men of Boston College High School in our hearts and offer support and solidarity.
In this moment, platitudes fail us. Prayer – our constant comfort – must now be a source not only of strength but also of action. At BC High, we are committed to doing the continually evolving work of anti-racism and our efforts will continue with a renewed urgency. Last summer, we hosted the groundbreaking White Responsibility Teach-In, which brought a hundred educators and advocates from across the country to learn from some of the nation’s most notable educators, school leaders, scholars, religious leaders, and thought leaders in the field of anti-racism.
These seminars continue the deliberate and consistent focus our community has directed over the last several years on addressing the challenges of racism in this country – and in our world. Our enduring belief in the universal right to equity and inclusion is grounded in Jesuit values and is manifested through a strong and deep commitment to the work of social justice.
In 2014, we began to place a more intense and defined interdisciplinary focus on anti-racism in our school community. This work is cumulative, transformational, and imperative. In 2016, we devoted a full year to facilitating multiple speakers, workshops, prayer services, and various other activities each month for our students and families, faculty and staff, and alumni. For the past few years we have offered panels led by students from our Diversity Cabinet to discuss diversity within our school community. These have been powerful experiences for our faculty and staff to hear the stories and experiences of our students and families of color. We acknowledge and appreciate all that has been done while recognizing that the hard work continues each and every day. We are grateful for the parent leadership of CASA (Cultural Alliance Supporting All) and will continue to rely on your counsel as we move forward.
This year our Diversity Committee, under the direction of Ruth Evee P’18, ’22, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, studied our growth and challenges as an institution, and we will present an institutional statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to the Board of Trustees in June. This summer, we will host the second White Responsibility Teach-In virtually.
A BC High education is transformational for our students, and for the world they will come to shape and lead. Our commitment to anti-racism is about creating real and meaningful change in the culture of our school that our boys will carry out into our wider society. We believe in the need to challenge, check, and change equity systems and structures to actively engage in dismantling systems of racism and oppression. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius teaches us that in life we are “moved” by two spirits – one evil and one from God.
We join Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. in “praying for a new Pentecost: a renewal of love, justice and truth in our hearts. We are called to do justice and love goodness in order to walk humbly with God… Please join me in asking Our Father for the balm of love, justice, peace, compassion and mercy to end racism and hatred now. Come, Holy Spirit, come.”
We need the Holy Spirit – our agent of change and wonder – more than ever. As a Jesuit, Catholic community we know the struggle will be long, painful, and difficult. But we are not deterred. We are not deterred because we are assured of the outcome in John’s Gospel: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
BC High is committed to a faith that does justice and we will not tolerate injustice – at our school or in our communities. Our highest priority is that students feel safe and supported each and every day. Dorothy Day once said, “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?” That is our hope for our community here at BC High. Please know that we are here for and with you. We are one community united in one mission.
Grace Cotter Regan P’12 Adam Lewis Rev. Jim Croghan, SJ
President Principal Superior of the Jesuit Community