MCA faculty members have been hard at work on professional development and preparing for the school year. On August 17, faculty and staff members began with a prayer service focused on racial harmony. MCA's new Coordinator of Belonging & Inclusion, faculty member Jamie Thomatis spoke next. She shared her desire for our community to “not be colorblind, but to acknowledge differences” and to celebrate them without prejudice. She went on to explain that “we don’t want to be a melting pot. In a melting pot, you can’t tell what’s what. Instead, in true New Orleans spirit, we want to be gumbo. You can see everything … and it all just works in this harmonious medley of goodness.”
She encouraged the faculty and staff by saying that, “everyone in this room is equipped to start this journey and see this journey out and to operate out of love,” and added that “it is a lot to process, but this is where we start.”
New guidance counselor Val Estoque spoke next, sharing personal experiences of racism that her family has experienced. Faculty member Dr. Julia D'Antonio-Del Rio followed with a look at the sociology of racism, a discussion of implicit bias and microaggressions, and concluded with a list of resources for continued learning.
Faculty and staff members look forward to the important work ahead.
The Closing Prayer:
O Lord, awaken the consciousness of all peoples and their leaders; raise up men and women full of love and generosity who can speak and act for peace, and show us new ways in which hatred can be left behind, wounds can be healed, and unity can be restored.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
A Cry for Mercy