On Monday, June 1, Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee sent the following message to the Partnership Schools community:
Across our seven Partnership Schools, we have the privilege of serving neighborhoods where diverse generations have successfully pursued the American dream. But too many of our graduates, students, parents, faculty, and staff have faced unjust threats and hurdles, including brutal and racist policing, in pursuit of that shared dream.
Animated by our Catholic faith, we believe in the sacredness of each person. The racism and violence we’ve seen in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery–and far too many others–stand in stark contrast to our belief that each person is made in the image and likeness of God. To our students, parents, graduates, teachers, staff, and community members: we share your anger, we see your pain, and we stand with you in the fight for justice. And as educators of faith, we join with those who say loudly and clearly that Black Lives Matter.
There is no simple answer to the challenges of racism and violence we face within our communities, within our city and throughout the country. But we have faith that the work we have been called to do throughout our Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx is part of His plan that can lead us to a more just and peaceful world. Our work, which is equal parts education and community building, seeks to empower our students with the knowledge, the skills, the relationships, and the values they need to thrive as community leaders.
We believe, too, that we are better together. Each person’s gifts only have meaning in community and in pursuit of the common good. It is only as diverse, united communities that our schools can model and teach the love that drives out fear.
And we believe that we are disciples with hope to bring. Hope is a firm conviction that the future can be better than the present, and it compels us to act–to do hard work in ourselves, on behalf of students, in our schools, and in our communities to make things better.
St. Augustine tells us, “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” We pray that the anger of the present day be rendered holy, pushing all of us to refuse to accept what is unacceptable. And we pray for the courage to make the changes–in our communities, in our schools, and in our own hearts–that our students need to inherit a better world.
As many of us work to prcess this moment, we invite you to share your reflections at email@example.com.