It has been both painful and shocking to watch the killing of George Floyd replayed countless times. His death, combined with other recent killings of black individuals, highlight longstanding racial inequality in America. Combined with the ensuing pain and violence across America that has erupted, it is a scary, fearful, and, yes, angry time for all of us. As our own Cardinal Cupich has said, “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
The events of the last week have had a profound impact on our country, our city, and our Brother Rice community. Our communities stand at a point where we must intensify our efforts to address racial inequality, so that we may move forward to a more just world. At Brother Rice, our Catholic faith and our school motto, “Act manfully in Christ Jesus,” call us to take up the ever-important work of listening to the perspectives of people of color, and joining together in the fight to secure racial justice and equality.
Our students at Brother Rice are of all races, from various religions and backgrounds. We are proud of our growing diversity. The families of our students include policemen, firemen, nurses, lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, and more. Indeed, we have a long and proud legacy of public service within our Brother Rice community. We honor their commitment and self-sacrifice, particularly in challenging times as are occurring today.
At Brother Rice, we follow our founder, Blessed Edmund Rice, in understanding a Christian Brother education to include several “Essential Elements.” One of those elements invites us “to prepare students to work toward the creation of a just society,” and another guides us “to promote respect for each individual as created in the image and likeness of God.” Over the next few weeks, we will be working to provide our school community with the long-term steps that we are taking to ensure we live and teach the gospel values in these and our other “Essential Elements,” which you can find here.
As Catholics, we believe in the power of prayer. Please join us as we pray for justice, for peace in our cities and towns, and for our united strength going forward.