Earlier this year, Vincent Rougeau left his post as the dean of the Boston College Law School and was named president of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. The first layperson to serve in that position, Rougeau is also the first Black president of that college, a place where 75% of the student body is white.
Holy Cross alumnus Che Anderson had this to say about Rougeau’s appointment: “Holy Cross is seen as a white, affluent space. When any organization that doesn’t specifically cater to people of color has a black person in a leadership position, there is an element of shock and traditionally that’s not where you tend to find Black and brown people.”
Rougeau says he has his father, Weldon to thank for leading him down a path of leadership and modeling a life of justice.
“As a Catholic,” Rougeau says, “I was drawn by my father to the message that Christ was attentive to those in need, to the forgotten people. If you are in a position of privilege and do not realize injustice, you haven’t been fully formed.”
Reflecting on his father’s example, Rougeau makes it clear that it is not enough to realize injustice. We are also called to action by using our gifts and talents to be in service to those in need and to work toward changing the structures that both allow injustice and provide soil in which it grows.
This week, I invite you to consider a space in which you move – your school, your workplace, your circle of friends. Are there ways in which you have taken leadership? If so, how? How has that leadership modeled attentiveness to those in need?