Dear Members of the Padua Community,
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and most recently on June 12th, the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, have shocked anyone with a conscience. We witnessed Mr. Floyd’s murder in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of video that cries out to heaven for justice! What we experienced was modern-day violence, and in no uncertain terms, a clear statement of how society has devalued life itself.
The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José Gomez, asks the question, “How is it possible that in America, a black man’s life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?”
It is no wonder that Black Mothers worry every single day whether their child will come home safely. “This time we should not fail to hear what people are saying through their pain.” This time, I sense, is different! This time, we have hope! This is not a moment but a movement! Protests all over the globe attest to the soul searching that each of us must do to respond to our own deep, personal experiences of systemic racism. Indifference is not an option! Silence is complicit!
The violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.
Padua Franciscan High School identifies itself as grounded in Gospel values with a foundation built on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. We can proudly profess a zero “0” tolerance for any racist behavior! Francis saw in each individual the likeness of God. Every person was accepted as unique and special, with their own dignity as a member of the human family, each individual deserving of respect. When Francis confronted his own fears he embraced them, challenged them, and the work of his change-of-heart began.
As a Franciscan educational institution, it is our moral duty to educate our students and community about the history and injustices of racism. We are committed to providing a curriculum, programs, and experiences that address these inequities and further eradicate them from our campus and the greater community. To that end, Padua has developed a task force on inclusion to begin this difficult, but essential work for peace and justice. It is our mission as a Franciscan school to ensure the dignity of every human being.
We join the global family in identifying and condemning racist attitudes and challenge the whole Bruin community to eradicate systemic racism in all its forms from our Christian and Franciscan lives.
Fr. Allan DaCorte, ofm
President, Padua Franciscan High School