The Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation (SHMR) Project, a work of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, seeks to empower faculty and students to understand, and respond to, connections between slavery and systemic racism. Indeed, the history and legacies of Jesuit slaveholding are shared by Jesuit schools and parishes throughout the United States—not only in the buildings that, in some cases, stand as literal reminders of how our past has shaped our present, but also in the privileges inherited by predominantly white institutions as communities of color have faced years of segregation, under-resourcing, and neglect, including within the Catholic Church.
But before bringing this history and its legacies to the classroom, faculty and administrators often face questions like, “what does this have to do with our school?” or “why should we look at our past?” This session will suggest how faculty and administrators can begin to grapple with and answer such questions from an Ignatian perspective. Universal Apostolic Preference #2 calls us not only to “understand in depth the economic, political, and social processes that generate such great injustice,” but also to work toward changing those structures, and to be “companion[s] in a mission of reconciliation and justice.” Through both awareness and action, we can begin to break down that which perpetuates the systemic oppression of communities of color and build up our capacity for healing, justice, and transformative change.
This video took place at the 2020 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Learn more about the largest annual Catholic social justice conference in the U.S. and how you can join us in-person or virtually this fall at ignatiansolidarity.net/iftj.