Marian Catholic High School began anti-racism efforts focused on systemic changes in the 2003-04 school year. This evolved out of the Springfield Dominican Sisters corporate commitment to become an anti-racist congregation. It was also supported by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s effort to become an anti-racist Roman Catholic Church. Three members of the Marian community, Carol Lanier, Marcheta Smith and Sr. Kathleen Anne Tait, OP had transformational team training through Crossroads and initiated the process at Marian Catholic.
The initial goal was to involve a broader group of Marian Catholic constituents into the racial justice efforts and gaining the endorsement and support of the chief administrators. The faculty retreat that first year introduced the concepts of systemic racism and established a definition of racism as race prejudice combined by the misuse of power by systems and institutions. Ten members of the administrative council and interested faculty also attended a 2.5 day analysis workshop through Crossroads. From that initial group of participants an internal “anti-racism” school committee was formed. The next three years (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07) , the school committee planned faculty in-services, worked to increase the diverse artwork and religious symbols in the school, planned for additional 2.5 day analysis trainings for the Marian Community and set initial goals for the anti-racism effort.
Two analysis trainings were held at Marian Catholic specifically for MCHS constituents in June of 2006 and June of 2007. The participants in the analysis trainings were a combination of staff, parents, alumni and larger community members. Those who had attended the analysis training were invited to meetings 3 or 4 times a year. The meetings gave updates of Marian’s efforts, shared data pertinent to the work and provided opportunities to practice the analysis of racism introduced in the workshops. In the fall of 2008 all previous participants of analysis workshops were invited to be part of a transformational team trained by crossroads.
January 2009, eighteen people responded to the invitation and spent a weekend with Crossroads trainers. The weekend included an emphasis on planning for systemic change, community organizing and team formation operating out of the anti-racist values of both/and thinking, transparent communication, cooperation & collaboration and an abundant world view.
Since January 2009, the team has met monthly. A vision statement and team covenant were developed. The team has focused efforts on four stakeholder groups, students, staff, decision makers, partners (those who had participated in analysis trainings).
The team has continued to sponsor analysis training sessions both to train new members for the team and to further engage MCHS staff members. Those sessions were held in March of 2010 and June of 2013. In August of 2013, the position of Diversity Director was established at Marian Catholic to further integrate the work of the team into daily operations.
In the spring of 2014, the team selected three goals areas to focus efforts for the next two years.
Expand awareness of the work of the BREAD Team to the general Marian Catholic Community by establishing a page on the website and making resources available.
Integrate into the student curriculum the importance of inclusive communities that both value diversity and understand the analysis of systemic racism.
Establish an in-service program for both new and current staff which fosters an understanding of systemic racism’s impact on the educational program and provides steps for intervention.