A Message from the School President, Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, DC '74
In light of the most recent, yet ever occurring, racial injustices that have captured our minds and weigh heavy on our hearts, we are reminded that these atrocities offer disturbing insights into the realities of life for Black individuals everywhere. These realities include incidents of racial profiling, racial insults, racial exclusion, and tragically, racial violence. And they evoke endless emotional outcries of anger, resentment, fear, hurt, and outrage. Further, these outrages inspire urgent calls for moral and legal justice.
As individuals and institutions, our responses can be many and varied. They all point to one thing – that we get engaged. Engaged in education; engaged in causes that matter; engaged in courageous conversations; and engaged in fervent prayer. As members of the Elizabeth Seton High School community, our faith requires us to get engaged, to fight for justice, and to demand change. The way each member of the Seton community chooses to get engaged is our living statement of our desire to assert that Black Lives Matter. What we do collectively creates a needed paradigm shift for each of us and for our community.
In my most recent moments of prayer, I have become convinced that any written statement, in and of itself, is insufficient. Statements can be made without driving conscious change. My own commitments now center on two persistent questions: When and How will Black Lives Really Matter? These daring questions, unlike statements, cannot simply be posted to social media or framed in a plaque and placed in every classroom, or entered into every school handbook. These questions demand responses that we as the Seton High School community will work to discern, to discover, to evaluate, and to implement. Thus, I begin with myself:
- that I engage in a personal plan of education
- that I recognize that a public portrayal of racial injustice is indeed part of our school’s “Crisis Management” and demands a plan of action
- that I engage in “intentional listening” sessions with members of the Seton Community
- that I prioritize my primary obligation, as a Daughter of Charity, to pray with and for our suffering black community members
- that I extend these very same actions to other minority populations
As the president of Seton, I commit to listening and leading our community as we collaborate in our plan for action:
Our School Goals:
- create a safe environment, across our campus and throughout our community, for our Black students and students and staff to voice their fears, their needs, and their concerns
- that we hold courageous conversations with parents, staff, students, and alumnae to understand the realities and the injustices faced by so many in our community
- that we engage in a well-developed plan for the professional development of our staff as they assume their roles and responsibilities
- that we create structures for students of color wherein their voices enter the channels of Seton communication and decision-making.
- that we examine all areas of student life for racial bias, discomfort and powerlessness
- that we develop and implement a schoolwide plan for promoting inclusivity and the inherent dignity of our students.
Now is the time to listen, to read, to pray, to dialogue, to get engaged! The question of how necessitates uniting our efforts for change and growth in both systematic and personal actions.
Our plan of action will be more easily accomplished if we remain united. In this oneness, let us move forward: sometimes in baby steps, sometimes in giant steps, sometimes in backwards steps that we correct, but in steps that lead us all to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter, Here and Now at Elizabeth Seton High School. This is without a doubt today’s version of the Light to Know and the Grace to Do.