Today is the one year anniversary of my first presence at the gates of the College of the Holy Cross, when the Hunger Strike for Justice began. A lot of preparation time went into it, and that was preceded by many years of writing letters that were ignored. So I had to change my communication, and it dawned on me a hunger strike for justice takes days, not like years of writing letters that are ignored. I took six months to plan it and vet it with people who know me. I was going to start March 24, but that is the anniversary of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, so I started the 25th with Romero very much on my mind. It was the first time I stood up for justice for myself publicly on this clergy sexual abuse crap. I am a very private person, but my communication had to change.
Holy Cross contacted me on the 26th day of the Hunger Strike for Justice and offered settlement talks. So I stopped the hunger strike, packed my bags and went home.
Nothing ever came of the settlement talks. I was deceived. Holy Cross told me to get a lawyer (though it has no right to tell me what to do), and I got a lawyer, but Holy Cross delayed with him too, so we parted ways.
There was a year of retaliation.
Last week there was the first stand out hate speech at the Vigil. I am sure there was hate speech last year and earlier this year, but it can be noisy there and people aren’t as audible as they think they are when they are yelling. And there are so many more kindnesses which really get my attention more. But at the end of the week, Thursday and Friday, some guys from the college were spewing hate speech with more vigor and frequency, and it was impossible to miss. It stepped up.
So this is year number two at Holy Cross, with the public protest about the college’s poor handling of reports of sexual abuse by Jesuits. Year Two.
I expect there to be ten years of protest because I know the denial I am dealing with, and the hubris of Jesuit places. I’m not a rookie anymore and I will cope with all of it. I am not going anywhere until I see justice, accountability and penance.