Holy Cross Alumni Anti-Racism Alliance (CHARA) Group
"Forged in the spirit of the Jesuit tradition, the Holy Cross Alumni Anti-Racism Alliance (CHARA) group is dedicated to fostering meaningful connections and healthy conversations about racial justice among alumni, and to improving the college experience for students of color," (CHARA Mission Statement). What initially started as a group of classmates discussing the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor soon transformed into a new organization and monthly dialogue for alumni to come together and discuss racial equality in America and the experiences of ALANA students at Holy Cross.
The founders, Maria Amendolia '92, Fred Givens III '92, and Kerri Riccardo '92, articulated that the goal for CHARA is to create a safe and supportive space within the Holy Cross community to initiate discussions about how systemic racism impacts the lives of their fellow BIPOC alumni. The purpose of these conversations is to listen, learn, and talk about how to address the racial injustice as an ally of the BIPOC community and help create change in support of the current students of Holy Cross. Most importantly, they want members to take away actionable steps that they're able to take in order to address systemic racism within their everyday lives.
During each meeting, CHARA discusses a different topic in order to dig deeper and find ways of making a positive and tangible experience for the alumni participants. They hope these conversations inspire alumni to promote these conversations within their workplaces and with their families - one step towards creating change for racial equality.
In addition to monthly conversations since August 2020, CHARA also raised over $10,000 for the Bishop Healy Emergency Fund, a fund created to meet emergency expenses and support the success of ALANA students at Holy Cross. Looking ahead, in 2021, CHARA is looking to continue expanding its organization to include more recent graduates, Holy Cross students, and to connect with the Holy Cross administrators in order to help create a difference within the college. They want current students to know that they would like to “be considered as a support system, to give advice, be in their corner, and listen to help address their needs and concerns.”
Since the organization's inception in August, CHARA has gradually grown to have close to 100 active members meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of every month to continue fostering the conversations of race.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings or would like to connect with CHARA, feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Bishop Healy Committee would like to thank CHARA for their generous support to the Emergency Fund and for continuing to provide a safe and supportive space to promote conversations surrounding racial justice.