Click "Read More" to view a PDF with all current communications between Alumni for Change and various stakeholders, including the Diocese of Phoenix and Xavier College Preparatory.
On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at 3:17 p.m. PST, Sister Joan, Sister Joanie, and Sister Lynn sent out an email entitled “Xavier’s Commitment to Justice.” Upon reading the subject, we were initially hopeful; upon reading the entirety of the email, we are absolutely heartbroken, disillusioned, and speechless. We respectfully and strongly disagree with the claims and accusations made by our own former administrators - most of which are unequivocally untrue. We are current and former students of color and allies who remain silenced, ignored, and misrepresented.
To preface, we harbor no animosity towards Xavier. Alumni, students, and parents have come to this work from a place of love, respect, and gratitude for Xavier, and a desire to better an institution we owe so much to. In the words of James Baldwin, “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” We love Xavier, and exactly for that reason, we expect Xavier to live up to its mission statement around unity in diversity and human dignity for all students.
July 23, 2020
Dear Sr. Joan, Sr. Joanie, Sr. Lynn, Dean Macrina, Ms. Metzger, and Ms. Fitzgerald,
We pray this finds you in good spirits.
We are writing to share the attached letter, signed by more than 850 additional donors, family, alumni, and Phoenix community members, earnestly asking you to take action on the concerns outlined in our original petition, which garnered more than 1,600 signatures from alumni and current students.
We are asking you - once more - to consider our plea for reflection, dialogue, and commitment to action, based on the five recommendations included on the second page. These are rooted in not only extensive research, conducted by experts in education, but in the real, lived experiences of former students from all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We are inspired by the diversity of experiences reflected in our work, and hope that you may be too.
To the signatories BCC’ed on this email, we encourage you to send an email to administration on this thread as well with your reason for signing, and what you might hope to see from them.
We are confident that we share the same goal: to ensure Xavier best prepares young women of faith with the knowledge, skills, and integrity necessary to meet the challenges of our society - in a way that honors our diversity.
Change takes time and patience; change can be frightening when we all too often seek solace in the familiarity of the status quo. Father Bryan Massingale of Fordham University, the author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, said this in a recent interview in June:
“Thomas Aquinas taught us that courage is the precondition of all virtue. Without courage, we’re not able to be prudent. We’re not able to be just, because courage is that virtue that allows us to surmount the fear that comes with the following of the Gospel. If we’re going to do anything that is difficult, there is going to be hesitation; there are going obstacles and opposition, and the fear that those obstacles engender in us. Courage is that virtue that enables us to not be afraid. We still feel afraid, but it’s a virtue that enables us to not let fear keep us from doing the right, actualizing the good.”
We remain eager and available to work with you on this, however long it may take. We have gathered feedback from alumni and students on what could be improved, and our group brings necessary experience from education, law, and justice to implement these changes alongside the institutional expertise from you all at Xavier. We recognize the great strides XCP has already made over the past several decades, and we only hope to build on that, to make this school an enriching, inclusive educational experience for all our students.
We hope to hear from you directly about an initial meeting by Tuesday, July 28. You may reach out to this email directly to schedule a meeting with XCP Alumni for Change; we plan to bring 2-3 alumni, along with an expert with extensive experience in equity and education - who is also an alumnus - prepared and willing to engage in this important dialogue with key administrators and faculty.
XCP Alumni for Change
Click "read more" to view the official response sent to the administration of Xavier College Preparatory regarding their communication on July 10.
Today, on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 4:12 p.m. - at the very end of the work day, at the end of the week - the Xavier administration sent out an email to current students, their families, and affiliates. However, no students from Alumni for Change received the correspondence directly, after continuous appeals to be heard. Xavier has never offered to meet with organizers, despite direct requests for dialogue. This email, on its surface, seems to be compassionate and sympathetic, but in reality, is rife with empty statements that fail to directly address the five action items that have been signed onto by 1,800+ alumni, donors, current students, and their families. Here we outline our responses to Xavier's letter and why this is not enough.
Note: This letter was sent in regards to Xavier's response to the petition with 1,500+ signatures. Xavier's response can be found at the bottom of this page.
Dear Sister Joan, Sister Joanie, and Sister Lynn:
We appreciate your response and hope that you will continue to work with us to make change at Xavier. However, we are disappointed to see no outlined actions or commitments, nor an invitation to dialogue with us or other current students who have been working on these issues.
Sarah and I were grateful to read Bishop Olmsted’s homily on racism and his call to fight and overcome prejudice and discrimination, and I am glad that the leadership at Xavier also recognizes this pervasive issue. However, it is not enough to pray for racism to end. We hope that Xavier’s administration, as well as Bishop Olmsted, Bishop Nevares, and the Diocese of Phoenix as a whole will seize this “kairos moment” to become leaders in the Catholic community in a faith-inspired collective struggle to end racism.
This month, current and past Xavier students have gathered through Zoom to discuss and reflect on our experiences as black women on and off Xavier’s campus. These Zoom calls have been influential in giving us a safe space to cope with our shared pain and outrage with not only the recent events but the ill-treatment we have individually faced in the past. Each story shared in these sessions has led to the empowerment of more and more black voices, pleading to be heard. These sessions have also revealed a number of instances where black students felt failed by Xavier. We recognize that the black community at Xavier is small, however, we do not deserve to be ignored. Many students have felt like our struggles are pushed under the rug rather than genuinely accepted for what they are. This needs to change.
The tragic murder of George Floyd has sparked numerous conversions of injustice and systemic racism around the world. It is of utmost importance to incorporate these conversations into our smaller communities. We want Xavier to listen to our stories and recognize that “celebrating unity in diversity” needs to be followed by actions and changes that allow their diverse students to be heard, recognized, and supported. These are not recommendations to be taken lightly. We urge Xavier to hear us and work with us to make the changes that will truly be impactful in support of their black students. We have expressed some of these changes in the past however, we write this letter to explain why we need and deserve for this to happen.
To the administration, faculty, and staff of Xavier College Preparatory:
In light of recent acts of police brutality against Black individuals, including the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the murder of Dion Johnson by an Arizona state trooper, and local and national protests highlighting the urgency of racial justice, we are writing to recommend actions that Xavier College Preparatory can undertake to support its students of color and Black lives everywhere. As alumnae who greatly benefited from the holistic and challenging education we received at Xavier, we believe that Xavier has the opportunity to facilitate conversation about the most important topics facing our society today, including racial injustice, white privilege, and police brutality.
We now know that it is not enough to just decry racism; we have to be actively anti-racist. This requires hard work, discussion, and education - all of which we believe Xavier is in a position to lead the Xavier community and set an example for the community at large. We call upon the landmark letter written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Brothers and Sisters To Us,” which promoted Catholic action and discussion on the evils of racism. This letter is just as relevant now as it was when it was written in 1979: