I arrive at the Anacostia High School Library at half past five on a Tuesday evening . The room holds a collection of individuals from various groups. There are thirty high school students, five teachers, a handful of school and district administrators, two community organizers, over a dozen representatives from Georgetown Black Law Students Association, and one Campus Ministry Chaplain (that’s me!). We’re an odd alliance but we’ve gathered with the intention of discussing what it looks like for Georgetown Law students to partner with students at Anacostia High School in order to provide opportunities for mutual understanding, formation, and kinship.
I’m “officially” here to lend whatever trace amount of wisdom I can from my years as a social justice organizer. But mostly I’m here to listen and watch everyone in the room grow into themselves and ultimately into each other. As a campus minister, one of the things that I fear the most is that our students will mistake finding financial success and vocational achievement with finding themselves and that they will begin to think that a bank account flush with cash is any sort of substitute for a soul anchored in authentic community.
Tonight’s conversation alleviates my fears. The BLSA members engage the students in honest and difficult dialogue where concerns are shared and the architecture of new partnerships begin to take shape. As the evening continues, I witness a shift in the room. The scene before me is no longer of a group of strangers or even partners working together towards a common good. Rather, it is of people who have come to the realization that they in some profound way belong to each other and that in pursuing a shared dream and desire, they will find something truly worth searching for- themselves. This is not a moment of sentimentality- this is a sacrament unfolding before my eyes and nourishing me with the hope of God’s good future for us all.
Rev. Kevin Wright, Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center and Medical School.