BY LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD STAFF | October 3, 2018
In September, fifteen students and eight faculty and staff members attended the inaugural Loyola Blakefield Neighbors Retreat. During the retreat, students explored the question, “When in the shadow of racial injustice, how can we be more neighborly?”
The idea for such a retreat came about after several faculty and staff members participated in an AIMS (Association of Independent MD/DC Schools) Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Conference last year. “We saw the retreat as an optimal space to enact the knowledge we received,” said Justin White, Director of Campus Ministries at Loyola Blakefield and member of the Ignatian Solidarity Network Board of Directors.
For this pilot program, the Office of Campus Ministries sent an invitation to 74 students and their families, identified by Loyola Blakefield Director of Ignatian Mission & Identity, Brendan O’Kane, and Justin White as students who would benefit from and add to the experience.
Throughout the weekend, students engaged in small group discussions about their identities and experiences, received talks from several faculty and staff members on topics such as dignity, misconceptions, implicit bias, and the “Loyola difference,” and discussed how they can continue to be ambassadors for racial equality among their classmates.
“Students were fully engaged throughout the weekend and shared very personal and powerful moments from their lives, both at home and in our school community,” said Mr. White, who hopes this is the first of many retreats at Loyola that deal directly with racial injustice.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on the Loyola Blakefield website.