Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism in Mission and Ministry

 

Message from the Vice President

 

September 24, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Our university community, like our society in general, finds itself at an important inflection point as we confront the overlapping and often overwhelming challenges of systemic racism, global pandemic, economic collapse, and political turmoil. In responding to these crises, we have an opportunity to propose real transformational change to our institutions, our attitudes, and our behaviors, change that can inch us closer to realizing our civic aspirations to form a more perfect union grounded in justice and to answering Jesus’ call in the Gospels to lay the foundations for the Kingdom of God in this world. This, then, is our kairos moment.

I therefore announce the formation of the Mission and Ministry Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, which over the coming weeks will lead a division-wide reflection as part of LMU’s Anti-Racism Project. President Snyder has charged each unit on campus with examining our structures and practices and developing measurable action steps that will address obstacles to racial justice that we identify in the course of our analysis. This process is outlined here and described in more detail here. The short-term goal is to produce a report to be submitted to the Office of Intercultural Affairs by November 1.

The DEI Task Force, co-chaired by Kat Brown, Director of Mission and Identity Programs, and John Paul Ramírez, Campus Minister for Regional Service, will have primary responsibility for (1) developing the process we will use to guide our reflection and (2) leading the prayerful discernment that will enable us to complete our report. 

Eradicating a problem older than the United States itself will, of course, take longer than a month. The reflection we will engage in collectively over the next few weeks is merely a prelude the long-term work of effecting real change at a time when our university faces significant financial challenges that are likely to make us even more risk-averse as an institution than we already are. Guided by the Spirit and with a renewed commitment to advancing solidarity and the common good, we must seek ways to overcome that institutional inertia. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me, to Kat and John Paul, or to any of the members of the task force, whose names appear below. I appreciate in advance your support of this process, and I look forward with hope to the fruits of this critically important labor.

Peace,

John Sebastian, Ph.D.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry