Message from President Boomgaarden on the National Crisis of Racial Injustice

June 01, 2020 BK LI

I want to express my personal anguish over the ongoing struggle for justice and equality playing out across our nation, and in our own cities and state, at this time. I know that I do not have to convince any of you that systemic racism — that which has manifested itself in the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia and in many others cases around the country — is very real and ever-present. I know I do not have to convince any of you that the anger and frustration we all feel due to these acts of violent hatred is fully justified, and that we stand together in solidarity with those who are so distressed and very close to losing hope for the future.

In the past, I have shared messages on diversity with the College community, which I have been ruminating on in the last hours. In one, I quoted a beautiful plea from the Book of Malachi 2:10, in which the prophet asks, “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” This statement is at the core of what we, St. Joseph’s College, New York, hold as an essential truth of our faith and mission. The charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph is that of inclusive love, reconciliation and unity. We believe that we have one Creator, and that we all share a fundamental duty to love one another. This duty to love transcends race, national origin, gender or any other ‘difference’ which might separate us.

That said, today, I want to intentionally reaffirm our institution’s responsibility for fostering an atmosphere of respect, dignity and good will among all within the communities we serve and throughout the world. St. Joseph’s College affirms the human dignity of every person and pledges to take all actions necessary to provide a safe, welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff and its community members. 

As we move forward into the future and coming fall semester with all of its uncertainties, I know that each of you will work with me to combat the injustices and prejudices that led to the events of the past days and weeks. This will not be easy work. This will not be a ‘success only’ journey. But, together, I know that St. Joseph’s College can and will play a big part in improving the moral compass of our communities across the nation. My prayers are with the demonstrators, with the police, with our local leaders, and with all of you. I pray that peace and justice prevail, and that we, as a society, waste no more time; let us immediately begin the hard task of conversion and transformation that is so necessary at this point in our nation’s history.