Over the last year, Mission in Motion has highlighted some of the ways that SCS has integrated mission into its efforts to cultivate an inclusive, anti-racist community striving to realize Georgetown’s value of Community in Diversity. Among other activities, SCS formed the Diversity, Equity, Belonging & Inclusion Council (DEBIC), a staff and faculty committee dedicated to supporting the integration of diversity and inclusion values into all aspects of the academic setting, and launched a series of community listening circles for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to share their honest experiences of racism in the university community. The work of racial justice at SCS continues as it does throughout Georgetown, demonstrated by a variety of ways that the university is exploring the systemic racism that continues to impact the lives of people of color.
This week, racial justice efforts at Georgetown and across the national network of Jesuit colleges and universities received a welcome resource to sustain this movement for greater racial equity. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and University (AJCU) launched an “Anti-Racism Examen” to help ground racial justice initiatives in the Jesuit spirituality that animates our schools. Thanks to a significant collaboration by many faculty and staff leaders across the U.S., the AJCU “Anti-Racism Examen” is a comprehensive set of resources intended to guide our Jesuit higher education institutions as we face the debilitating sin of racism and make good on our mission commitments. The intention of these resources is to link the personal to the institutional, fostering deepened reflection and action about how our AJCU institutions need to grow in order to realize an anti-racist future.
The “Anti-Racism Examen” consists of three components:
- Composition of Place Video: This 15-minute video adapts the guidance of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits and author of the Spiritual Exercises, who invites the retreatant to imaginatively consider all of the aspects of one’s context and situation before entering into meditation or prayer. Similarly, this video invites viewers to look “both around and inside for landmarks. What is the racial reality right now on our campus and in ourselves?” Evoking significant feelings about the realities of racism, this video helps viewers to engage with the gritty reality of racism and serves as preparation for the dialogue and reflection of the Examen to follow.
- Guided Examen: The Examen is a practice of interior reflection that helps the individual, and in this case the institution, more deeply align one’s motivations and actions to God’s invitation to build a more just and generous world (for a previous Mission in Motion reflection on the Examen, see here). The Examen, which has been inclusively adapted to a diverse range of audiences, invites us to get in touch in a very particular way with our inner motivations and movements. The AJCU “Anti-Racism Examen” (a guide for leaders is here) is meant to stir reflection and discernment about grounded and specific ways to dig into our experiences of racism by actively listening to one another and then holding ourselves accountable to the moral imperative of anti-racism.
- Resources for Ongoing Discussion and Discernment: The hope is that the “Anti-Racism Examen” becomes an ongoing and continuous practice for units at the university and that it shapes concrete actions. To support action planning, the AJCU has created both a racial justice resource page and ideas for an anti-racist future.
I hope you spend some time reviewing this valuable AJCU resource and considering the ways that Ignatian spiritual practices can support the ongoing work of racial justice. More to come on how the “Anti-Racism Examen” can be more fully utilized in our SCS learning and working spaces.