Working Toward a More Just Society

As people who believe that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, we affirm the inherent dignity of all human life, and we stand—as disciples of Christ—against any form of bias, discrimination, hatred, and violence. The discriminatory and violent killings of George Floyd and so many others serve as a grim reminder of the racism that has plagued our nation for centuries. This reminder functions simultaneously as a sobering reality check with respect to the depth and breadth of the challenges confronting educational institutions. And this reminder is especially important for Catholic schools and educators, given our charge to teach as Jesus did and to form students who will use their gifts to serve others and work toward a more just society.

As Pope Francis said today, we must confront racial injustice and exclusion in all forms. His exhortation bears a particular urgency for those committed to Catholic education. We must be open to listen and learn in a spirit of humility from all who continue to suffer oppression and discrimination, in particular people of color, and especially African Americans. We must confront racism in our classrooms, in our communities, in our homes, and in our hearts. We must—and will—work together with each other, our teachers, and our school leaders to build communities that strive, in living the truths taught by Jesus, for justice, peace, and an end to racism.

The faculty and professional staff of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Alliance for Catholic Education will continue to gather and provide resources and support to our current students and graduates. Through our scholarship, formation of teachers and leaders, and outreach to under-resourced Catholic schools, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to match our words with actions. Education is an inherently hopeful endeavor, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Our mission to shape the minds and hearts of a new generation of educators and leaders committed to be forces for good has never been more urgent or important. We pray that the Holy Spirit will bless and inspire our community with the wisdom, courage, and energy to pursue this mission with openness, imagination, and resolve. We have work to do.

John Staud, Ph.D.
Acting Director, Institute for Educational Initiatives
Executive Director, Alliance for Catholic Education