“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” - John 13:34
As part of year-end professional learning, faculty members gathered for small-group discussions on inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism. Prior to the meetings, teachers were asked to read “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” which was developed by the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“This pastoral letter from 2018 grounds our process and encourages us ‘to walk humbly with God in rebuilding our relationships, healing our communities, and working to shape our policies and institutions toward the good of all, as missionary disciples,’” explained Geoffrey Philabaum, Director of Academic Innovation.
“Open Wide our Hearts” is one of six readings in an anti-racist reader prepared by Mount Carmel Academy administrators, along with Coordinator of Belonging & Inclusion Jamie Thomatis. In the fall, the Faculty Book Club will focus on the Catholic Social Teachings as they continue to analyze and discuss the readings.
“Each work was selected to help you have an informed reference point for this dialogue,” Mr. Philabaum explained during a group discussion. “Some of the material might be slightly uncomfortable to read or process, but I encourage you to take the time to question why it makes you uncomfortable. It is in that liminal space that we can grow.”
Ms. Thomatis, who began her role as Coordinator of Belonging & Inclusion at the start of the 2020-21 school year, hopes the reader will inspire faculty members to “read, digest, and question,” while starting some “great, love-filled dialogue.”
“This transformation begins with a commitment to being or becoming anti-racist,” she wrote in a foreword of the reader. “With all candor, being an anti-racist is complex and has many levels - some of which I, too, am discovering. This reader attempts to peel back some of those layers, addressing the complexity of racism, offering mechanisms to increase anti-racist classrooms, and hopefully provoking high-level thinking that inspires you in your ministry at Mount Carmel Academy.”