This past Saturday, Steven Guerrero, CSOM ’18, was awarded the Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship. The scholarship is given annually to a Boston College student based on academic achievement, leadership, community service, and involvement in the Latino community.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship is another grant that is given annually. The criteria for the award are academic achievement, community leadership, service to others, and commitment to the principles and mission of King. Both of these scholarships help to promote racial diversity on campus.
These awards, which are generally given to Hispanic and African-American students respectively, represent a commitment to the advancement of the interests of minority groups. At a school such as BC, where Hispanic and African-American students are historically underrepresented, programs like these two scholarships help to create a more inclusive university.
This is evident in the characters of both of the namesakes of the two scholarships. Archbishop Oscar Romero was an influential leader and social activist in El Salvador during the country’s violent civil war that lasted more than a decade. He was a staunch promoter of peace, and was killed while celebrating Mass a day after he asked Salvadoran soldiers to refrain from killing civilians and escalating violence.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is perhaps the most influential civil rights activist in American history. His “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the March on Washington, is one of the most important calls to justice the world has ever known. His bravery and fearlessness in the face of oppression continues to inspire people around the world today.
These scholarships complement the efforts of students during a time in which many groups on campus, such as the AHANA Leadership Council, are attempting to promote diversity on campus. These awards serve as a way for the University to recognize the achievements of minority students, and offer legitimacy to groups of students that might otherwise feel ignored or overlooked by the BC community.
The committees that give out these two scholarships each year also help to foster diversity on campus. The Archbishop Oscar A. Romero and Martin Luther King, Jr. Committees both help to combat discrimination, create understanding, and promote equality at BC. By sponsoring scholarship programs, these committees are helping to develop future leaders that will carry on the missions of Romero and King to make the world a more just place for all.