President Kendall on the Recent Unrest

Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trevon Harris, Laquon McDonald, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, and now George Floyd…Who is next?  How can we continue to hear and see stories like theirs and not expect tempers to erupt?  If any of these people were your loved one, wouldn’t you demand justice? What if you didn’t get it? What if it happened again to your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor?  Again and again.  We absolutely must look one another in the eye and see something of ourselves there.

At CRSM, 100% of our students identify as persons of color or mixed race and 100% of them are incredibly talented young people determined to build a better future for themselves, their families, our communities, our country, and the world.  How do we support them in the face of so much discrimination and prejudice?  Especially when violence is perpetrated by individuals who swore to serve and protect?

Cristo Rey St. Martin’s mission is three-fold: 1) to offer high quality college prep education to young people who otherwise lack access, 2) to enlist real, professional work experiences so that our students are better prepared to secure positions of leadership in their chosen fields and to achieve greater influence and prosperity, and 3) to create service opportunities for our students so they can deepen their own faith, values, and commitment to making a more just society.

Our mission has never been more relevant or important. The work we do alongside our students and their families, with our business partners and donors, is part of a long-term solution to heal racial wounds and right economic inequities.  We are all children of God and therefore all part of the body of Christ.  St. Paul said, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”  We honor and support those who peacefully call out injustice and will continue to work with those who seek lasting peace, equality, and who believe in the sanctity of all lives.  We condemn violence and racism and recommit ourselves to our mission – to inclusion, diversity, justice, and hope.

John Foley, SJ, the Founder of the Cristo Rey movement once said these prescient words, “We all have to be about changing the way things are. Our mission is to make the Kingdom of God concrete in the here and now, in other words, not merely to make things slightly better but to effect transformational change at every level. At Cristo Rey, no one has ever taught that we should be content with doing something small. Our world doesn’t need a touch-up; it needs total renewal!”  Lord, we pray that Your Kingdom come and that we may be part of bringing it!