Current events serve as a powerful reminder of the persistence of racism and racial injustice in our communities. The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, amid so many others, has evoked deep memory of our history of racial oppression. We are overcome with grief for the oppressed and for our own complicity in systems of oppression.
This moment gives fresh urgency to the call to be “people for others,” in the words of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. — people “completely convinced that the love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.” (1) As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, we uphold the words of the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, that “the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement” of the “service of faith.” (2) As people of diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds, we affirm that these words speak to a deeper, universal call — the call to care for the wounded among us, to seek understanding, and to dismantle the causes of all forms of violence. We commend all those who have responded to this call.
Georgetown University continues to atone for its participation in the sin of slavery. We lament that all of our traditions have at one time or another throughout history been complicit in raising up some at the expense of others. We who bear the privileges of these systems must reflect on our participation and root out the seeds of racism from our communities. Otherwise, these tragic patterns will persist. As religious leaders at Georgetown University, we commit to name, address, and dismantle the structures of racism and white privilege in our own midst. We will do this by:
- Deepening our own formation around race and white privilege through honest, ongoing examination of the way they function in our personal and professional lives
- Examining and addressing the ways in which race, power, privilege, and their intersections function in the operations of Campus Ministry, and in our religious communities
- Working with our campus partners to include a racial justice lens in all our student programs, and creating programs that specifically address racism, and anti-racism awareness, competency, and action
- Continuing this work well into the future, and not just in this moment in history.
In unity, we add our voices to those who are calling for racial justice, and vow to begin with ourselves. We seek to be who we all came to the Hilltop to become: people for others.
The Chaplains and Staff of Campus Ministry at Georgetown University