View from the Bay - The Critical Concern of Racism

Erin Hanna

“A sin is the rejection of one’s humanity as created in God’s image. In all simplicity, the actions taken against these individuals have led to the rejection of their rights to be human and are, therefore sins.” - Jordan Ferraro, Class of 2021

Dear Bay View Community,

In recent weeks, violent acts of racism in our country and the challenges we continue to face as a result of Covid-19 have inspired me to describe Bay View as a Mercy community that meets the moments of our time with courage, resolve, and a selfless concern for others.  In my initial response to the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all who are victims of racism, I noted that Bay View stands in solidarity with the hurting members of our human family and prays together for the victims and loved ones of all who are suffering.  Today I’m reaching out to assure you of my clear understanding that Bay View’s guiding principles, deeply held values, and sincere prayers must be inextricably bound to responsive and specific action steps that will be taken as a school community.  

The holistic education that we provide at Bay View has its mission-inspired roots in the five Critical Concerns of Sisters of Mercy.  These Critical Concerns - the earth, immigration, non-violence, racism, and the needs of women – inform our efforts to develop young women who are socially conscious, globally minded, and service-oriented agents of change in the pursuit of social justice and dignity for all.  The protests in response to George Floyd’s murder underscore the importance of our efforts, revealing how imperative it is that we, as one people, connect with our collective humanity and work as a nation to bring generations of systemic and deliberate injustice to an end.  

The Critical Concern of racism is expressed by the Sisters of Mercy in this way: 

“We believe racism is an evil affecting us all. We work to mobilize, sister 

and association, in recognizing and dismantling institutional racism in order to 

become an anti-racist, multicultural community.  We advocate for upholding the 

voting rights of marginalized Americans and for a fair criminal justice system, 

and point out racism wherever it exists.”

As a Sister of Mercy, I am ever more committed to infusing the Mercy Critical Concerns into all that we do and all that we are, and I will ensure that ending racism is a priority that shapes our ongoing efforts toward continuous improvement in the education of our students.  Our comprehensive efforts will require careful analysis, collaboration, and detailed planning to develop a set of thoughtful action steps for both the near future and the long term.  Bay View’s administration and faculty are fully committed to this important work, and we look forward to partnering with all members of our community to create a set of actions that address:

  • Our individual and collective reflections about who and where we are on our journey to support anti-racism.

  • An increased integration of the Critical Concerns into our curriculum, including a review of all academic materials and resources.

  • An agenda that promotes opportunities for students to take action in support of social justice issues, including anti-racism.

Please know that we will depend on our entire community as we strive to educate our students in a manner that is reflective and responsive to the challenges of our time.   May we all work in unity to address racial justice and make Bay View a beacon of inclusivity, acceptance, and love.

In Mercy,

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Sister Marybeth Beretta