In Worcester, at the College of the Holy Cross, a new chapter of Massachusetts Peace Action is beginning, both figuratively and literally. Starting this September, I have been working towards putting a club together here on campus, with the club’s first interest meeting being held this coming Monday. I cannot say how many people I expect to be in attendance, but with numbers great or few, we will begin the project of forming a community that advocates for a less militaristic American foreign policy and using our voices to communicate a message of global peace.
It is my belief that an organization such as Massachusetts Peace Action has a natural and logical place at a Jesuit institution such as Holy Cross. The faith of the Jesuits rests squarely on service for others and a deep compassion for those without power or voice. Easily found on its website, Holy Cross says the following about its commitment to Jesuit ideals: “The Jesuits have also promoted living in solidarity with the poor and disenfranchised. This not only involves acts of service, but also encompasses a profound love and respect for all human beings. This is reflected in the College’s mission statement; it’s also a unifying message for our campus community. Through activities such as alternative spring break and Student Programs for Urban Development, our students live out the call to be ‘men and women for and with others’ in places near and far.” I myself am neither a Jesuit nor even religious, but I find myself thoroughly identifying with the social philosophy of the Jesuits, and see clearly how a chapter of Massachusetts Peace Action can, ought to, and will flourish at Holy Cross; the solidarity exhibited by the Jesuits extends not only to those who lack material wealth and well-being, but to all the world’s marginalized people, marginalization which can be driven in any number of ways, far from the least of which being violence, sometimes carried out by or with the support of our government.
Whether its bombing a Doctors Without Borders hospital, in flagrant violation of international law, or giving unwavering support to the vicious campaigns of our unsavory allies, an understanding of even a fraction of modern world events can lead us to but one conclusion: too many people around the world, mostly in poor and underdeveloped countries, are suffering from violence which our country’s government either itself perpetrates, actively enables, or tacitly endorses, and as the citizens supposedly represented by this government, we are complicit if we do nothing in the face of this uncomfortable truth. The purpose of a Peace Action chapter at Holy Cross will be to expand awareness of this gravely important moral issue on our campus. With the opening of such a club, it is my hope that all rational and compassionate members of this college campus community, whether or not they associate themselves with the school’s religious identity, can live up to the ideals of the men who founded this institution, and in doing so, have the drive to learn and courage to raise our voices in the name of justice on behalf of those who cannot do it for themselves.
Harry Cahoone, Class of 2016