Sharing our Mission for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was held this past weekend at the Marist Brothers Center at Esopus. Sixteen people from our schools around the USA Province were joined by the Postulants, Novices, members of the MBCE staff, and members of the Marist Brothers Center in Esopus board.
Br. Dan O’Riordan (Provincial - Marist Brothers USA) was able to join us, and we are so grateful to him and his council for making it known that this work is indeed a ministry to those who are on the margins, for one reason or another.
We had two excellent presentations from Raisa Carrasco Velez (St. John's Prep - Danvers, MA) on 'Building Allies' and Peter Rojas (Merrimack College) on 'The Intersectionality of Programming.' They gave us concrete ideas, as well as inspiration and affirmation. LaToya Hayes from Marist High School in Chicago and Aliali Belkus from Central Catholic High School facilitated a response to those presentations.
Dr. Alice Prince and JR Zerkowski were with us again. Dr. Alice spoke about 'What To Do BEFORE It Happens' (and the IT could be a myriad of situations). JR shared about the difficulties the LGBTQ community and its allies face in our evolving church. In addition, Dr. Alice and JR always provide such support and encouragement, as well as concrete ways to move forward.
The group worked hard, even during break times, as conversations continued almost nonstop. These folks are doing difficult work, and this opportunity to be together was both nourishing and restful.
Lastly, many thanks to Alice Miesnik, Aliali Belkus, LaToya Hayes, and Kim Madonia for their contributions in planning the DEI program.
Last year, a book club grew out of the DEI conference. Alice Miesnik led bi-weekly discussions on the book, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. This year, the book club has been opened to the Marists of Champagnat ongoing formation group, but all are welcome to join! If you consider yourself an ally in this work, or if you’d like to explore the idea of allyship, please consider joining us. You can email Alice at [email protected]. This year’s book is Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele.
There is also an opportunity to be part of a discussion group that would NOT involve reading a book. Each 'Courageous Conversation' would be prompted by a short quote or video clip. If interested in this group, please email Maureen Hagan at [email protected] to sign up or for more information. Starting date, days, and times to be determined.