LMU ANTI-RACISM PROJECT | Loyola Marymount University has embarked on an endeavor that is as timely as it is vital. The Inclusive History and Images Project (IHIP), in cooperation with the university’s Anti-Racism Project, will gather oral histories and artifacts from alumni and public sources with the goal of knowing ourselves better, and gaining a deeper understanding of Loyola Marymount University.
“LMU has both a great opportunity and pressing need to gather more of our history,” said Michael Engh, S.J., Chancellor and co-chair of IHIP. “Our alumni have important stories to share from their experiences, and we need to record as many as possible, particularly from our senior alumni.”
Though the general history of Loyola University, Marymount College, and LMU as known, faculty and staff members are also keenly aware that there are stories that have not been documented, experiences that have not been expressed. Too often these overlooked occurrences involved Black, Latino/a and Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and LGBQT+ members of the LMU family. The Inclusive History and Images Project seeks to address these important gaps in our understanding of our own institutional history by gathering stories and images from alumni to tell the full and inclusive LMU story.
Dean Bryant Keith Alexander, Dean, College of Communication and Fine Arts, Interim Dean for the School of Film and Television, and co-chair of IHIP states: “The nature of this project has strategic intent with an invitational quality; to recover aspects of the past to inform the present and move towards our potentiality as a university; a university committed to antiracism and bias in all forms. We will offer an invitation to diverse populations in our LMU history to share and illuminate aspects of their experience, which is a part of our collective history to which we must attend.”
Through its powerful mission, anchored in the service of faith and the promotion of justice, LMU has been at the progressive edge of diversity, equity and inclusion. From the earliest days, Jewish students were welcomed at Loyola and at the Law School when they were regularly excluded elsewhere. Edward Whalen, S.J., the ninth president of Loyola University, welcomed returning Japanese internees and found campus jobs for many during contentious post World War II times. His successor, Charles Casassa, S.J., rejected Jim Crow laws in 1950 by canceling a football game in Texas rather than keeping African American players off the field. Another example of inclusion is Stanley Chan, a faculty member and founder of the Political Science Department, who became the first Chinese naturalized citizen in this country after the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Each university president positioned the office and the university on the right side of justice, which continues to the present.
Nonetheless, we recognize that there have been periods of failure, of inattention, and of ignorance that have not served our students well. We are digging into the institution’s lived history to gauge more fully our understanding of who we are in all our diversity, where we need to continue to grow to be more inclusive, and to chart a course for a better future.
The committee has developed an interactive website and personal-contact processes that will offer accessible opportunities to contribute stories. To accomplish this, they are seeking to tap into the alumni network to find participants.
• Attend the Black Doctoral Network’s Western Regional Online Conference this Thursday, April 8, 2021. The conference is an interdisciplinary event that brings together academics and professionals from the social sciences, STEM, and humanities to address way to positively impact and inform each other’s work and engage our communities. The 2021 theme encourages attendees to lead and inspire others to “Breakthrough to Excellence.”
The last day to register is this Wednesday, April 7 – there will be no same-day registration options.
• Attend the last virtual forum of the semester, on April 13, 3-4:30 p.m.: LMU Anti-Racism Project: Year 1 Report and Reflection. The last virtual forum of the 2020-21 academic year focuses on LMU’s actions towards anti-racism. What has been accomplished this year? What lessons can we learn from our actions? Calling all faculty, staff, and students to hear about actions taken across the university to move towards anti-racism and to share what you have learned in this process. This forum will provide the LMU community with a year-end time for review, reflection, and renewal.
• Have you ever felt stuck or at a loss in a discussion that revolves around race/ethnicity, identity, politics, and/or religion or other differences? Do you ever wish you had a space in which you could have these conversations to gain more self-awareness as well as a greater understanding of others who come from different backgrounds and experiences? Cultural Consciousness Conversations is a space for a variety of LMU administrators, faculty, and staff to come together and connect on these topics. CCC is now recruiting for its third annual cohort, FY 2021-22. Complete the interest form by April 30 to learn more and sign up.
• With the LMU Anti-Racism Project’s In Six Words series, we hope to spark conversation, understanding, and empathy across all identities. Read what others have shared and submit your own story!
This week’s story, by Aristotle Mosier, director of Asian Pacific Student Services, explores the importance of working together to end racism and create the world we want to live in.
“Solidarity Means Becoming a Co-Conspirator.”
Aris says: Author, educator, and activist Bettina Love shared in a conference that to fight racism is not to simply be an ally but be a co-conspirator. Being a co-conspirator is not simply knowing the language, but to sacrifice for someone else whether speaking up for historically marginalized groups that are often not in the room when it comes to policy decision making or fighting for representation in hiring and recruitment. Be willing to use your social capital to fight injustices wherever you are.