On June 22 and 24, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women conducted three virtual listening sessions – with alumnae, current students, and current parents. Titled Racism – Working to Make Mercy an Agent of Change, Mercy administration, faculty, and board members listened to the concerns of the participants, as well as their ideas for change and action. The sessions were facilitated by Linda Dickey, M.S., Chair of the Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute at Mercy.
Inspired by the passion of those who participated in the sessions, as well as those who reached out to us via email and social media, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women has recommitted itself to the Critical Concern of Racism. We have pledged ourselves to be actively anti-racist and fight against systemic oppression, including within our own institution. The first action step Mercy has taken is to listen better, and while these sessions may be over, we are not done listening – or acting. Every step we take is critical in our shared quest to help end racism.
There is much work Mercy needs to do to be an agent of change. The comments from the sessions are currently being transcribed and will create the foundation for the critical work that will be conducted by Mercy’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee when it is formed over the next several weeks. We are in search of a professional and highly regarded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant who will work with all members of the Circle of Mercy to incorporate their feedback and draft a plan for Mercy’s future. This week, members of Mercy’s leadership attended a virtual education conference on anti-racism: “Uplifting Women and Girls of Color Through Anti-Racist Pedagogy, Practice, and Policies.” In addition to the restorative practices training and workshops on microaggressions provided to faculty and staff, we will soon be conducting training on implicit/unconscious bias to increase our cultural competence. We’re also enhancing our staffing recruitment strategy to attract faculty and staff of color.
This is only the start – with the help of everyone within the Circle of Mercy, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women will become the agent of change we need.