Over the last several weeks, Mount St. Dominic Academy has received feedback from alumnae, students, faculty, staff, and the broader community relating to the ongoing racial injustices that have been amplified by the recent horrific deaths of several Black citizens—Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, to name a few—in our nation.
As Dominican Catholic Christians, we join those voices in condemning racism, bigotry and hate and in our nation and globally. As I reflect on the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell’s vision statements, there is one principle that resonates most at this time, “we hold the promotion of Justice as a top priority.”
It is because of this reflection that we must also look inward and listen to the voices of our Black students and alumnae who have recounted their own experiences of racism, micro-aggressions and implicit bias within the walls of our school. We have made mistakes, and have been blind to what has been within our sight. For this I sincerely apologize.
However, it is not enough to apologize, we must commit to action and we are committed to doing just that, taking action!
We are committed to working with you, our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and alumnae, our Board of Trustees, our Faculty, our staff, and the broader student community to take the steps necessary to create an inclusive environment where marginalized groups are heard, valued and protected.
As part of this commitment, we will seek guidance from professionals within Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to both evaluate our current culture and climate and help us devise a plan, with measurable milestones, for change and improvement, which will be a transparent process.
There will be mandatory education and trainings for our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and students which will be implemented throughout this year and years to come. We will also seek to have facilitated open forums for discussion with our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students as well.
We will strive to increase the diversity of our students, faculty and staff over time, as well as identify opportunities to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion practices into the fabric of our daily practices.
To demonstrate our sincere desire to change the culture at the Mount, we have taken the following steps:
- The Immediate appointment of alumnae Sandy S. Castor, class of 2001, and Ghilianie Soto, class of 2008, to the Board of Trustees.
- The creation of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion subcommittee within the Board of Trustees.
- The formation of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Alumnae Council under the direction of the Alumnae Office.
We look forward to working in partnership with the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and alumnae from input to implementation in this important endeavor.
We recognize these steps are just the beginning and look forward to collaborative and intentional change.
As changes are implemented in the coming year, we will continue to keep you apprised of our efforts, and welcome your continued input.
Thank you for opening our eyes to see, our minds to embrace you and your feelings, and our hearts to begin to bring about the healing and change that is required.