Sweet Spirit…of Verbum Dei

I remember the first time I stepped onto Verbum Dei’s campus. Despite growing up not too far from Verb, I had no idea this beautiful community existed. I instantly fell in love with the Jesuits and their way of living out the love of God.

The Verbum Dei Community is my family. We encourage, uplift, support, and love each other professionally and personally. We are all blessed to carry out our vocations in community with these amazing people. However, the many amazing qualities that make up Verbum Dei does not make us immune to the societal ills present in the American culture.

Many of us received an education that did not provide a complete history of America and severely limited the voices of diverse experiences.

Most of us have been inundated with media messages that have portrayed certain races, genders, sexualities, abilities, and religions in a negative manner.

Many of us have been socialized to be fearful of people based on their skin tone, the neighborhood they live in, or their socioeconomic status.

Many of us have been taught, either directly or indirectly, that human dignity is earned and not given.

As I continue my journey towards gaining a true understanding of the histories and experiences of my own culture and the cultures of others while preparing my own children for the lives their futures, I am faced with the ways I am complicit in espousing anti-blackness (or anti-darkness) beliefs. I have been reflecting on those times I supported racial uplift but not social justice; the times I perpetuated the values of the model minority; the times I placed value judgments on a student’s way of being. This work has not been easy but is extremely necessary.

Karen Chambers and I were given the opportunity to discuss the ways in which racism can appear in Catholic schools. More importantly we offer steps schools can take to ensure the values of freedom and equity are present in all aspect of the school’s culture. I have included the article below.

I am committed to ensuring Verbum Dei consistently works toward the goal of educational equity. Verbum Dei must be as passionate about equity as we are about educating our students. We must be as committed to being anti-racist as we are about being impactful in our job duties. We must be as dedicated to the work of social justice in our individuals’ classrooms/ offices as we are to the collective work of social justice embedded in our mission.

As we move forward to do this work as a community, let us remember these agreements provided to us in the text Courageous Conversations About Race by Glen Singleton:

Stay Engaged

Experience discomfort

Speak your truth

Expect and accept non-closure

Fail foward

Always,

Brandi

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