It has been an honor and privilege to serve as chair of the Sister Thea Bowman Committee — a committee charged with examining the University’s current practices, and making recommendations to promote racial equality in all aspects of its operations. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this important initiative at such an historic time. I also am confident that Catholic University will continue to be a leader in making meaningful change regarding racial justice and equality because of its Catholic identity, its strong sense of community, and its willingness to conduct an honest assessment of itself in order to identify opportunities for growth and positive change.
During her lifetime, Sister Thea worked to break down racial barriers, and encouraged people to communicate with one another so that they could better understand and appreciate other cultures and races. In her address to the United States Bishops at their annual meeting in 1989, she explained that being African American meant bringing her “whole self ” to the Church community. This included her history, her culture, her traditions, and her experiences. All these things, she believed, were unique gifts that she offered the Church.
Over the course of the last year, the Sister Thea Bowman Committee members fully embraced Sister Thea’s philosophy and brought “their whole selves” to the process. The committee comprised a diverse group of University faculty, students, staff, alumni, administrators, parents, and representatives from the Archdiocese of Washington. They all worked cooperatively and were willing to listen to and appreciate different viewpoints and perspectives.
I have never worked with a more dedicated and thoughtful group of individuals. Everyone cared deeply about the meaning and mission of the committee and was committed to making significant change regarding racial equality and justice. Sister Thea’s pursuit of equity, peace, and reconciliation served as inspiration for the committee, and guided it throughout this process. As the Sister Thea Bowman Committee concludes its work and entrusts the recommendations contained in this report to the University community, it does so with confidence that those who implement and build on them will continue the work of the committee in the spirit of Sister Thea.
— Regina T. Jefferson, Professor of Law