DSHA Stands in Solidarity with the Black Community
Divine Savior Holy Angels High School
Dear DSHA Community,
We would like to thank each of you who took time to provide feedback on the communication sent on June 1 entitled DSHA Response to Current Events of Racial Injustice and our stance and support of members of the Black community. The response of the community was wide-ranging. And we are listening.
The recent killing of George Floyd has not only brought out the harsh realities of systemic racial oppression and injustice acts towards Black Americans to full view, but it has allowed each and every one of us a chance to question what we believe in and why we believe in it. We believe that Black lives matter and they matter deeply. This is a human rights statement and one that aligns with our Catholic and Salvatorian mission to work actively toward social justice in both our global world and local communities – including right here at DSHA. We want DSHA to provide an environment that embraces our young women of color and surrounds them with love and acceptance.
One of the community responses we received included a moving letter comprised of 15 young alumnae sharing their stories and asking questions about diversity and inclusion at DSHA. These alumnae shared their frustrations and concerns regarding the racist actions or language they had either experienced firsthand or witnessed during their time at DSHA. This letter was accompanied with 690 signatures made up of alumnae, parents, and students.
Our mission has always been to prepare our young women for the future by providing the best educational experience possible, academically and spiritually, with a goal of a bond of sisterhood that would be long-lasting. With the testimonies that were shared, it appears that we missed several opportunities to ensure that all of our alumnae felt connected, supported, and validated during their time at DSHA, and for this we apologize. We know that what makes DSHA so special are the experiences and connections that create lasting bonds. It is heartbreaking to read about the prejudices and racist words and actions that many have experienced at DSHA. These are not the types of experiences that we condone nor stand for as a Catholic institution.
While we take pride in our increasingly diverse student body, we acknowledge that we have a lot more to do in order to allow our girls of color the opportunity to experience all that DSHA has to offer without having to worry about insensitive and outright racist language and/or actions adding to their everyday life stressors.
DSHA administration have utilized the past week to engage one-on-one with many members of the school community — past and present. Our only goal was to listen. We then invited the young women who shared their testimonies in the letter to meet with the TSC community in order to participate in a collaborative discussion regarding their stories and our current Diversity and Engagement Strategic Plan. We are committed to being bold in this work. We are committed to ongoing communication on our efforts and results with the goal of making a difference in the lives of young people and our community. We are encouraged knowing that we can all come together as a community of faith in idea and action to fully support our Dashers.
We thank you for your continued support. May the teachings of the Church and its commitment to social justice continue to challenge DSHA, our surrounding communities, and our nation.