LMU ANTI-RACISM PROJECT | LMU faculty and staff have dynamic opportunities to learn and explore the many manifestations of racism with a series of workshops and community-building circles created in fall 2021 by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office. The LMU Anti-Racism Workshop Series are part of the larger university effort to create an institution that embodies LMU’s commitment to inclusive excellence and anti-racism.
“These workshops hit home because many of us share similar experiences, even if we don’t come from the same ethnic backgrounds,” said Alejandra Hernandez, assistant director of student services and diversity, equity and inclusion for LMU Loyola Law School. “Through our discussions, we became compassionate and vulnerable. We learned from each other’s experiences.” Hernandez, who was a member of the first cohort, added that the workshops afforded insights into life’s experiences beyond the work environment.
The LMU Anti-Racism Workshop series consists of three interactive workshops where participants learned about the four I’s of racism – intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological – and how to build toward a life where we combat racism. Between each workshop a community-building circle was held where participants had the opportunity to further dialogue about our roles in either supporting or dismantling racism. Altogether, it was a commitment to six sessions during the fall semester. The program was a developed by the DEI Office, with feedback and guidance from members of the LMU community who participated in the program pilot in May. DEI Associate Joe Bernardo and Resident Director Jamal Epperson led in creating the curriculum, while newly appointed Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Director Ariane White, and SFTV Assistant Professor Kennedy Wheatley structured the community-building circles.
“The Anti-Racism Workshops provided us with a much-needed opportunity to grow our understanding of racism, the structures that support it, and tools for dissecting our own role in supporting or disrupting it,” said Christine Chavez, assistant vice provost for Institutional Research and Decision Support. “We were provided with a safe space for guided reflection and dialogue about these issues with a diverse group of colleagues. I walked away feeling empowered, educated, motivated, and supported.”
To make the cultural shifts necessary to address the long history of structural racism in society and in educational systems, LMU must begin to dig deep and do the hard work of facing personal and institutional inequities. “These workshops deepened my appreciation for the power of reflection, introspection, and dialogue,” Chavez said. “It was powerful to witness the openness and willingness to be vulnerable of faculty and staff from across our campus in the service of growth and community. Dismantling racism starts there, with a willingness to engage and reflect with honesty and an open heart.”
Lisa Reid, Study Abroad program advisor, agreed. “The most valuable thing I have learned through this workshop is that racism affects everyone, it does not affect only some or a few,” Reid said. “Whether you are oppressed by it or benefit from it, racism affects us all. Reflecting on this in my own life has been very eye-opening.”
Hernandez added, “I hope that others who should be in these workshops, take the steps to join in. My hope is that LLS will continue to be integrated with the campus but especially in DEI work. We have amazing leaders leading the workshops.”
DEI will offer the workshop series again in the spring. Registration for the next series of workshops is open. Here is the interest form for next semester.
- Save the date: Creating a Transgender-Affirmative Campus: Pronouns, Bathrooms, and Beyond (on Zoom, Jan. 19, 2022, 2:30-4 p.m. PST).
- Sign up for the spring LMU Anti-Racism Workshop Series. For more information, contact Dr. Joe Bernardo at email@example.com.