Dear Gesu School Community,
The past few months have challenged us in ways that we could not have imagined. We are enduring both a public health pandemic and a pandemic of injustice. But we cannot despair. Now is a time for strength, hope, community, and justice. These values are central to our Gesu community.
Racism has been a part of the daily life of African Americans for generations. It is a reality that our students confront in our city and across our nation. Right now, our students must contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is killing African Americans at three times the rate of white people. They are also witnessing the mass civil unrest brought about by decades of systemic racism. In the past three months, we have seen Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd all brutally murdered because of the color of their skin. All of this is both heartbreaking and infuriating.
During difficult times like these, I often walk through Gesu School’s halls and look at our students’ faces as they eagerly learn in our safe school environment. This gives me a profound sense of hope. I know that our collective Gesu community—faculty, staff, families, board members, and volunteers—is successfully supporting each student on a path to a bright future. Now, while our community is at home, I pray that our students draw on the values we instill in them every day. Gesu is not just a school; we are a family. Together, we are resilient. And together, we will work for a better tomorrow.
Gesu School has served as a beacon of hope for our North Philadelphia community for almost 150 years. We will persist in this effort. We will remain steadfast in growing children academically and in the Jesuit value of becoming men and women for others—committed to justice. We will continue to support and celebrate our African American community with pride. We will continue to empower our students to recognize, reject, and speak up against racism. We will continue to advocate for justice, now and for our students’ futures.
This is a time for reflection and conviction. I encourage you to bear in mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Stay safe. Stay strong.
Bryan H. Carter
President and CEO
Gesu School staff and students sing "We Shall Overcome" at a Black History Month prayer service with the IHM Sisters in February.