A Message to CFJ leaders: Black Lives Matter
Dear CFJ Leaders--
I write to you all admitting that I am struggling with the right words, and so fear that I won't articulate what I, and the whole CFJ staff, want to share with you, but writing anyway because what we do and say does matter.
This week, white supremacist vandalism made the realities of our racist society very real and very close. And though this particular incident may have involved people who are not a part of our campus community, it traumatized and re-traumatized people in our Xavier family, and reminds us of the urgent work on our own racism that remains. For all of you individually--what you need to do, feel called to do, both to be a whole person and to be a person who lives out their values--will be different, and will be impacted by the identities you hold. And as a CFJ staff, it is clear to us that this is a time for intentional action, in both immediate and long-term ways. As a Jesuit institution, we are invested in just future for everyone, particularly for those who are most marginalized. Right now, that means we must unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter... and discern actions that will make that a reality.
To those ends, here are some efforts we invite you to join as a CFJ leader:
- Make a Black Lives Matter sign to put outside of Bellarmine Chapel. We have supplies on our big table right when you come in. Make a sign and you can take it outside and put it up. Did you make a sign already but weren't sure how to put it up? Come get an h-frame stake, tape your sign to it, and take it outside.
- Share your reflection on our CFJ social media. We are inviting our staff to share reflections out of their faith, values, or tradition on what we do about hate, why we resist, and how to act. If you would like to share a reflection with the community, will we try to share them in the coming weeks. Look at @xucfj on Instagram for posts. Email Tala with either text or video and she will coordinate the sharing.
- If you are a Black student and would like to attend a caucus space in the CFJ about your leadership in this space (and anything else), email Shannon who will help organize that event. Caucusing and affinity spaces are a practice we have found fruitful for processing in our predominantly-white and predominantly-Catholic organization.
- If you are a white student, sign up for this semester's Aspiring Anti-Racist Allies. This 7-week program is a caucus for self-identified white students who want to become anti-racist, anti-supremacist allies and examine their own ideas about race and racism. Sign up for AARA here.
- Look out for programming to come. We want to have substantial conversations, and those will take some time, and should be a part of our ongoing practices. We will post information on social media (@xucfj on Instagram, @DorothyDayCFJ on Twitter) and on Dorothy's Top 5 email. We need to confront racism and white supremacy, we need to wrestle with hard questions, and we are better when we work on it together.
- Have a need or idea that doesn't fit into any of the above categories? Talk to us. Reach out to the staff person you know best for support. Bring creative ideas to the spaces and teams where you are a leader. Not sure where they fit? Email me, and I am happy to sit with you (or read your email, or zoom) to figure out what is next.
This work is not done. We know that the CFJ has work to do towards becoming anti-racist. We know that our current search to fill our Faith & Race Program Director/Protestant Chaplain position will be an important structural moment for those efforts. But, as we imagine what a just future looks like, we also know we have to keep discerning how to get there. That journey will be long--take care of yourselves so you are in it for it all. Play the long game, pace yourself for the marathons (sports metaphors are not my best). We are in this together.
Take good care of yourselves and each other,