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Responding to Racism

The Lasallian educational community stands united in denouncing racism, calls for justice and action, and commits to bringing forth real change.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of all teachers, founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Christian Brothers) in 17th century France in response to systemic injustice. Saint La Salle and the first Brothers opened schools to provide a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor and socially marginalized. Today, Lasallian ministries continue to follow his vision by welcoming young people into inclusive communities centered on Catholic tradition, faith formation, personal relationships, academic excellence, respect and dignity, selfless service and social justice.

Brother Superior General Robert Schieler, FSC, released this message to Brothers and Lasallian Partners in RELAN on June 4, encouraging Lasallians to “persevere in our educational mission to bring about systemic change for a more just and peaceful world for everyone.” Read the full message > 

Sit to Breathe Sit In. Courtesy Peg Hodapp

Among the efforts already in process, the District of Eastern North America (DENA) has established a Racial Justice Coalition to guide the District in thought and action and provided a page of resources, a number of colleges and universities have introduced plans for conversation, healing and action, and students and recent graduates of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis helped organize a “Sit to Breathe Sit In” at the Minnesota State Capitol. Lasallian Volunteers released a letter, committing themselves to support the fight for justice. Lasallian education is represented in the National Catholic Educational Association’s special August 2020 issue of Momentum addressing racism in this ad.

This page includes statements and actions from around the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN)Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, General Councilor for RELAN, encourages Lasallians to review the information on this page, writing, “I hope you will be able to spend some time reading the many cries from the heart that have emerged in these past days and allow them to join the emotions and passions of your own heart. The societies of our Region include many people and perspectives and yet in that diversity our Lasallian voice offers a unity; it is a prophetic voice that resides in the heart and memory of our Lasallian charism. And this voice echoes Isaiah’s in announcing that Justice will bring about peace. 

Every ounce of our conviction and energy is dedicated to building the Reign of God through our educational and evangelizing mission. All of our educational work is centered on the youth and young adults who hunger for justice and peace, and everything we do in our ministry has as its purpose the promotion of the dignity of the young person, who we are convinced is the loving face of Jesus abiding in our hearts. The prophetic voices in this groundswell call us to concrete action to stand against racism and stand with those whose life and dignity is assaulted. Let us unite in solidarity and love, passion and prayer, justice and action to build the Reign of God for God’s people, especially the young and poor. 


RESPONDING TO RACISM: A LASALLIAN DIALOGUE

In response to the call for racial justice, more than 1,600 people from 34 countries registered to view Responding to Racism: A Lasallian Dialogue, a livestream discussion on June 25The Lasallian Association of Colleges and Universities (LACU) hosted the dialogue in collaboration with the Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference and three of the RELAN Districts: District of Eastern North America, Midwest District and District of San Francisco New Orleans. During the dialogue, four Lasallian educators discussed racism and how to act in response to systemic and institutional racism. Among the topics addressedpanelists explained what systemic and institutional racism is and offered examples, talked about where this moment might lead us within our institutions and society, and explored steps Lasallians could take to make real change happen. Learn more and watch the recording >

WATCH THE RECORDING NOW

Read the story in Crux, Catholic educators urged to be “prisoners of prophetic hope” by Nick Mayrand, July 2 > 
Read the story from La Salle University, “Dismantling racism, according to Lasallian educators” by Christopher A. Vito, July 16 >
Read the press release >


DISTRICTS

District of Eastern North America 
“I hope that you are, like me, tired of statements and hashtags that rise to the surface too frequently (and then as quickly, disappear). I hope that you are as blessed as I am to know many incredible Lasallians (and others) who serve the public as courageous police persons. I trust that we all realize that, even in an era of instant gratification, eradicating racism and promoting justice will take constant effort on the part of all of us.” —Brother Dennis Lee, FSC, Visitor 

Read the full message from Brother Dennis and access DENA resources >  

District of San Francisco New Orleans
“The cries of pain and frustration of a mistreated people are something that we cannot ignore, and something to which we must respond as one Lasallian family. We will not tolerate the sin of injustice in any of its forms, nor will we be complacent in its presence.” —Brother Donald Johanson, FSC, Visitor 

Read the full message from Brother Donald > 

Midwest District
“We need to ask how we build diverse, loving communities. We have to ask how we move our schools to become centers where the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the poor have a home – and more – how do we advocate for their legitimate interests.” —Brother Michael Fehrenbach, FSC, Visitor

Read the full message from Brother Michael > 


HIGHER EDUCATION

Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee
La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois
Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York
Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, California
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota 

AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education, a publication of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, recently published articles that address racial justice, inequity and other social justice matters through the intersection of Lasallian and Catholic lenses. These articles, which were authored by representatives of each Lasallian higher education institution in the United States, are a result of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Lasallian Higher Education Colloquies on Racial Justice. The 2020 gathering was to take place June 2-4, but was canceled due to COVID-19. Read the articles here >  


SECONDARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS

Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Bishop Kelley High School, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Calvert Hall College High School, Baltimore, Maryland
Central Catholic High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Christian Brothers Academy, Albany, New York
Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, New Jersey
Christian Brothers Academy, Syracuse, New York
Christian Brothers College High School, Saint Louis, Missouri

Christian Brothers High School, Sacramento, California
Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, Tennessee
Cretin-Derham Hall, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School, Oakland, California
De La Salle Academy, Concord, California
De La Salle Collegiate, Warren, Michigan
De La Salle High School, New Orleans, Louisiana
De La Salle High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
De La Salle Institute, Chicago, Illinois
De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland, Oregon
De Marillac Academy, San Francisco, California
Justin-Siena High School, Napa, California
La Salle Academy, New York, New York
La Salle Academy, Providence, Rhode Island
La Salle Catholic College Preparatory, Milwaukie, Oregon
La Salle College High School, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, message from President Brother James Butler, FSC
La Salle College High School, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, message from Principal Michael O’Toole
La Salle College Preparatory, Pasadena, California
La Salle High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
Mullen High School, Denver, Colorado
Resurrection College Prep High School, Chicago, Illinois
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, San Francisco, California
Saint Mary’s College High School, Berkeley, California

Saint Raphael Academy, Pawtucket, Rhode Island (6/3 post)
Saint Patrick High School, Chicago, Illinois
San Miguel High School, Tucson, Arizona
St. John’s College High School, Chevy Chase, DC
St. Joseph High School, Westchester, Illinois
St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Buffalo, New York
Totino-Grace High School, Fridley, Minnesota
West Catholic Preparatory High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


SUPPORT MINISTRIES

Lasallian Educational and Research Initiatives, Winona, Minnesota


YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

Tides Family Services, Rhode Island


TAKE ACTION

Join DENA’s Racial Justice Coalition and additional resources, including readings, podcasts, prayers and more.

Explore Springtide Research Institute’s page of resources, which includes readings, prayers and more. 


 If you have a statement or effort you would like to share, email it to communications@lasallian.info 

Top photo: Courtesy Peg Hodapp, DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis