To the Community of Independence Mission Schools,
It is impossible to find words adequate enough for expressing our thoughts and feelings about the events taking place in our city and across our country. Nonetheless, it is our solemn duty as educators and as people of faith to speak up, loudly, against injustice, so we are communicating this message of solidarity. While our lived experiences are broad and diverse as individuals, we are undeniably united as a community in our heartache and anger.
The senseless killing of George Floyd has added to the entrenched and institutionalized oppression and racism experienced by many in our country. At this moment in time, we must all recognize this horrific injustice and the scores of other injustices committed against persons of color; in doing so, we must also call on one another for healing, and we must commit to upholding and sharing our Catholic values. Foremost among these is our sacrosanct belief in the dignity of human life—that we are all children of God and should be treated as such.
Each of us—teachers, leaders, students, and family members—have chosen to attend, work at, and support our IMS schools for many varied reasons. Collectively, though, we continue to embrace a shared vision for a better tomorrow that is inclusive and equitable for all children. This vision, we pray, must become uniformly evident throughout our world. Together, we therefore pledge to work, each day, to help ensure that our students feel safe, loved, seen, and heard as the unique individuals God made them to be.
As we move forward together, I ask God to watch over us and help us be instruments of peace and love for one another. Let us lead the way as partners throughout our wider community, building alliances among each other and with officials, so that we may work productively together toward achieving this vision. Let us lead by example, as we continue to welcome children of all faiths into our school communities and as we strive to learn from, grow with, and embrace one another. In working together, let us find and tackle even more ambitious steps for supporting our children and lifting-up our families—at all times and not just during times of crisis.
More tragically, we cannot be together to mourn and reflect in person, but we can join one another through faith. I invite you, alongside your family, to join together this evening—at the dinner table, before bedtime, or at whatever time works best for you—and pray these words. May this singular act of community, expressing peace and love, provide at least a small moment of comfort in knowing we are together in spirit.
PRAYER FOR COMMUNITY
You grace each of us with equal measure in your love.
Let us learn to love our neighbors more deeply,
so that we can create
peaceful and just communities.
Inspire us to use our creative energies
to build the structures we need
to overcome the obstacles
of intolerance and indifference.
May Jesus provide us the example needed
and send the Spirit to warm our hearts for the journey.
— from Being Neighbor: The Catechism and Social Justice
I pray that you and your loved ones remain safe, not only today, but as we move forth as a city and a nation to repair the pain and trauma experienced by so many.
President & CEO
Independence Mission Schools