What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change, and the reform of our institutions and society.
In this regard, each of us should adopt the words of Pope Francis as our own: let no one “think that this invitation is not meant for him or her.” All of us are in need of personal, ongoing conversion. Our churches and our civic and social institutions are in need of ongoing reform. If racism is confronted by addressing its causes and the injustice it produces, then healing can occur.
(From “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter on Racism, United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)
Gonzaga Prep’s commitment to antiracism sets the foundation for our vision and work, offering a way forward representative of our Jesuit, Catholic mission. It is just the beginning of very intentional, focused work.
COMMITMENT TO ANTIRACISM
As a Catholic, Jesuit community, we believe that all of humanity is created in God’s image and imbued with inherent dignity. Therefore, we unequivocally condemn and actively oppose all forms of prejudice, racism, and injustice toward all human beings. Further, we recognize the sin of racism as a historic, systemic1, and persistent reality in our nation, the Spokane community, the Catholic Church, the Society of Jesus, and Gonzaga Prep.
Guided by the prophetic call of the Society of Jesus2, the social teachings of the Catholic Church3, and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ letter, "Open Wide Our Hearts4," Gonzaga Prep is committed to antiracism, which we define as the active and reflective process of identifying and challenging racism in attitudes and perspectives in order to change systems, organizational structures, policies, and practices to render them just and equitable for all. In making this commitment, Gonzaga Prep will work to heal and transform its community and fulfill its mission to educate students according to Gospel values, inspiring leaders who will create a more just and loving world.
1“What Is Systemic Racism.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Nov. 2018, www.usccb.org
2“Introduction, Universal Apostolic Preferences.” Jesuits, Jesuits Global, 19 Feb. 2019, www.jesuits.global
3“Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003, www.usccb.org.
4“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 19 Feb. 2019, www.usccb.org.
KEY AREAS OF WORK
The 2020-2021 Equity & Inclusion School Life committee identified ways to involve the community in the examination, planning, and implementation of our work in KEY AREAS.
Guided by our commitment to promote the dignity of all students, Gonzaga Prep expanded its offerings of affinity groups on campus. Affinity groups are student-run spaces that allow them to discuss their experiences among peers who share a common identity. Through these organizations that celebrate diversity, students develop self-awareness, build communities of support, and work to promote inclusion.
In 2019, all faculty and staff completed a cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence. This groundwork allowed us to identify ways to ensure all students feel welcomed, supported, and seen at Gonzaga Prep. New faculty and staff are required to complete the inventory during their first year on campus.
Last year, we engaged in a faculty retreat based on the tenets of the Open Wide Our Hearts letter, and we participated in a yearlong implicit bias training. The school continues to prioritize professional development around diversity, equity, and inclusion during our scheduled employee meetings and in-service days.
In 2021-2022, faculty and staff spent time both discerning and prioritizing key recommendations from the committees for Equity and Inclusion. Those recommendations are the foundation of our updated Institutional Strategy for Equity and Inclusion.