On December 6, 2020, the United States – Canada Associate Leadership Team hosted a presentation by Sisters Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN and Patty Chappell, SNDdeN. The presentation introduced Associates, RSCJ and provincial staff to transformational anti-racist values that can help us, the Sacred Heart family, make a shift in our attitudes and actions. Approximately 90 people gathered for this Zoom presentation.
Systemic racism is embedded in the foundation of the United States. Dismantling it requires intentional personal and communal work. We were reminded that we live out of the charism that has a hold of us – to make known the heart of Christ in our wounded world and to meet the heart of Christ in the woundedness of our world – we are called to be Artisans of Hope in Our Blessed and Broken World.
Our presenters acknowledged that racism is perhaps the great example of systemic injustice in the United States today, and it affects all systems and institutions. They also invited the Canadian folks present to look to the history of indigenous and black people in their country. The struggle to dismantle racism must be intentional, consistent, and on-going and we need to be open to transformation. It is both a personal and collective journey.
We were presented with the traditional values of: either-or thinking which fosters efficiency; a scarcity world view which maintains the status quo; a secrecy model of communication which allows for a need to know understanding of sharing information; and individual action which fosters competition.
We were also presented with transformational values that can be the key to shifting mindsets and organizational structures if they become the foundation on which we operate in our spheres of influence. These values include both/and thinking with a bias toward action and inclusivity; an abundant worldview where we use resources responsibly; transparent communication fostering consensus decision making; and cooperation and collaboration fostering collective, responsible relationships.
We were given this question to consider in our breakout rooms:
As Associates how will you begin to operate out of the transformational values which help to create an environment conducive to genuine anti-racist relationships?
A 15-minute discussion proved to be but a tease for such a big question that surely requires more in-depth conversation.
Some of the graces gathered from our meeting were:
- To identify ways to keep this process moving individually and collectively.
- To use the examen as a way to self-identify compliance with the values.
- To evaluate our processes and decisions through the lens of the transformational values.
- To ask who needs to be part of the conversation and is the group willing to speak and or hear hard truths?
- A call to look for diversity in any place that we have input.
- To encounter the Society’s history of racism, and to face the truth, and process the grief around it.
- To ask others what they need or want rather than deciding for them.
- To be open to new approaches.
This presentation was the fourth gathering in a series the Associates hosted on racism in the United States. We are committed to this work and look forward to collaborating with the Sacred Heart family to work towards dismantling racism.