Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
As we mark Juneteenth this weekend, we have an opportunity to reflect not just on the end of slavery but also on all we are achieving in the ongoing fight for justice. It can be easy to be discouraged and disheartened when we see a continued need to address issues within our community. We still have much work to do to create a just, more equitable future. Today, I encourage you, however, to pause to reflect with optimism and hope.
Our university community has made significant strides, particularly in recent years, while trying to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of our work. We are committed to combating racism and advancing justice, and that commitment is tangible. Looking back on this past academic year, we can see the powerful advocacy of our students who helped organize the DEI Town Hall and the Asian American and Pacific Islander vigil, critical curricular work and intellectual engagement through Messina, the launch of the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice
, the voice and action of our Undergraduate Diversity Advisory Committee, and many other efforts and initiatives that are helping to instill a commitment to antiracism into our minds and hearts.
In the months and years ahead, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan
will serve as a guide in driving us in our continued challenge to become a more just university. I hope each of you sees a role for yourself in continuing to move this work forward.
The Society of Jesus has launched the celebration of an Ignatian Year, marking the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola. You may be aware that St. Ignatius, our university’s patron saint and namesake, started his conversion after he was struck by a cannonball. That personal tragedy led him to find Christ in a new and transformative way, to become a priest, and to found the Jesuit order that has had such a profound impact. This Juneteenth, I invite each of us to consider how the stain of slavery on our nation and the continued racial injustice that pervades our society might be a cannonball in our lives, spurring us on toward being part of positive transformation for our community and our world.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.