Continuing Our Commitment to Dismantling Racism
May 10, 2021
Cretin-Derham Hall made a commitment to Dismantling Racism in summer 2020, and we are continuing to pursue that mission with zeal. Diversity and Equity are two of our seven core values, and our school cannot be a truly diverse and equitable place without a commitment to anti-racism. Our daily prayer calls us to "love God and the dear neighbor without distinction." We aim to live out that prayer every day.
After a student protest on April 19, the conversation on our campus around these important issues has become even more urgent. We know that there is a lot of work still to be done.
After the nationwide protests last summer after the murder of George Floyd, CDH announced a concentrated focus on the issue of racism on our campus. Throughout the school year, progress has been made in a number of ways:
- CDH announced our Dismantling Racism Initiative.
- The school commissioned Anton Treuer, PhD, to serve as our consultant on racial disparities.
- Treuer led an all-day seminar for faculty and staff.
- CDH formed both adult and student steering committees for the Initiative.
- A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Theater group was formed to discuss equity in the performing arts.
- Student Council created and adopted Guidelines for Civil Discourse
- The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan was updated to include specific goals under each domain regarding dismantling racism.
- Alexis Burns '15 collaborated with the Advancement Office to create a Black Excellence Alumni Network.
- The Steering Committee expanded into multiple subcommittees, including Curriculum, Policies, Spirituality, Student Experience, Communication, and Alumni Outreach. They will make specific recommendations to the Steering Committee.
- The annual Justice Week was focused on "Exploring the Dynamics of Race." Treuer was the keynote speaker.
- During Black History Month, daily announcements were made about notable Black Americans and their impact on our history and culture.
- AFAM, a new affinity group for Black students, was formed. They meet regularly during Flex and have welcomed successful Black alumni to speak about their careers.
- A Recommended Reading List on dismantling racism was included in the spring Traditions magazine alongside an update on the work being done on campus.
- The Communications subcommittee met with a student focus group regarding diversity and equity in CDH's communications.
- After the student protest, nine listening sessions were held on campus for both students and faculty/staff. Many these were led by administration, with the others led by Treuer to ensure everyone felt comfortable speaking freely. Additional Listening Sessions will be offered so that everyone will have a chance to be heard. In addition, significant feedback from parents and alumni has provided valuable input.
- On April 29, a prayer service was held for racial justice and healing in our world.
- CDH is developing a comprehensive plan, with specific and actionable goals. This will engage multiple and diverse voices in its development and will be shared with the community
This work has only just begun.
CDH will continue this focus into the 2021-22 school year and beyond. We will be hiring a DEI Coordinator/Student Advocate, and Cultural Competency and Bias-Free Classroom Training will be the primary Professional Development focus for faculty and staff in 2021-22. The Steering Committee and subcommittees have been working hard to develop recommendations for changes that can be made at CDH, and those recommendations will guide much of our specific work going forward.
Our goal is for Cretin-Derham Hall to be a place where all people feel welcomed, respected, and cared for. Each and every day, we are called to love God and the dear neighbor, without distinction.