The Brothers of the Christian Schools Call for Peace and Justice
June 1, 2020
Dear Members of the CBA Community,
As a way to continue constructive dialogue around the issue of racism, Christian Brothers Conference and the Lasallian Association of Colleges and Universities is hosting an initiative called Responding to Racism: A Lasallian Dialogue.
This live panel discussion will take place on June 25th at 3:00 p.m. and is open to all members of the Lasallian network across the country. I encourage you to view this panel discussion and see how our schools can respond in a way that is guided by our Catholic and Lasallian principles.
In response to the recent events taking place throughout our country, Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, the Provincial of the District of Eastern North America, has sent out the message below to all of our schools. May each of us take to heart the words of Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Brother Frank Byrne, FSC
As we have celebrated Pentecost this past Sunday, we continue to invoke the Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon all of us in our one world.
Last Tuesday, we viewed the most painful (literally) breath-taking video of our lives. Six years ago, Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” were once again unheeded, this time as pleaded by George Floyd.
Since March, we have been hoping that, despite the sufferings of this COVID moment, somehow, our post-COVID world will be a better one, in education and in all dimensions of life. As devastating as this virus is, we have every confidence that it will pass. Meanwhile, racism has been with us for centuries but we have the capability of working together to ensure that it not persist beyond this decade! As we often hear, “Enough is enough.”
I am sure that you join me in denouncing the breath-taking action of four police officers last week. I hope that you are, like me, tired of statements and hashtags that rise to the surface too frequently (and then as quickly, disappear). I hope that you are as blessed as I am to know many incredible Lasallians (and others) who serve the public as courageous police persons. I trust that we all realize that, even in an era of instant gratification, eradicating racism and promoting justice will take constant effort on the part of all of us.
Over the past days, I have been engaged in conversation with Maryann Donohue-Lynch who serves our District in the areas of Advocacy and Social Justice. She has collaborated already to form a powerful set of resources for reflection and action. Counting students, parents, alums, staff, faculty, administration, Board members, donors and well-wishers, we have tens of thousands of Lasallians in DENA.
Today we invite each of you to participate in our newly established Racial Justice Coalition to guide our District in thought and action. A Coalition of thousands may be unwieldy but we hope to have the happy problem of too many members. We will find a way to organize committees so that your voice will be heard. If you want to join virtual arms with other DENA-ites in real sharing and planning, please visit the DENA website and use the online form to sign up for the Racial Justice Coalition.
Some thirty years ago, I was on the faculty of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. On retreats, in Religion class and in personal conversations, students (especially the young black men) spoke of the harassment, scrutiny, threat, and (thus) fear they lived with. It was heart-breaking then. It still is. Enough is enough! With our shared passion and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we believe that we will, in fact, make our world better for the long haul. Please join us.
Brother Dennis Lee, FSC