Confronting Racism: Human Dignity in Action
Becoming an Anti-racist Community at CSB and SJU
In accordance with their common mission, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are rooted in the belief that all human beings are created in the image of God, and therefore worthy of dignity, respect, and love. The mission derives, in the first instance, from the Catholic tradition of our founding communities and the values of The Rule of Benedict. This religious tradition instructs us to meet Christ in every person and to value community life, justice, listening and hospitality. We recognize, however, that this mission is also inspired and fostered by faculty, staff and students of numerous other traditions – religious, agnostic and non-religious – whose values are no less dedicated to the inherent dignity of all persons. For all of us, to live these beliefs is a daily challenge, and one that we – as individuals and communities – must meet, putting Benedictine values in action for the common good.
These beliefs call us to become explicitly and unapologetically anti-racist, particularly in the shadow of countless and long-standing acts of violence against people of color. Racism is dehumanizing to everyone it touches and stands in stark contrast to our values and ongoing efforts to become a transformatively inclusive community. Anti-racism actively acknowledges and opposes the racial discrimination within our nation and in our campus communities. Much remains to be done to become an anti-racist community. We must each examine our own attitudes, actions, and systems and act to challenge racist attitudes, actions and systems. In the words of Pope Francis, “the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples” (Address to U.S. Congress, September 2015).
Therefore, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University affirm:
- Our commitment to be an anti-racist community, respecting the dignity of all persons as understood in Catholic Social Teaching and the Benedictine values.
- That our commitment must be reflected in the life and culture of our institutions, its policies, practices, decisions, organizational structures and norms, both stated and unstated.
- That our campuses are on the original homelands of the Dakhóta and Anishinaabe peoples. We honor and respect the Indigenous peoples who are still connected to this territory and commit to a restorative justice and educational approach to our intertwined histories.
- The necessity of teaching and learning about and naming the impact that racism has on our campuses and the individuals who live, work, and learn here, and of intentionally challenging and dismantling systems of privilege and oppression within all aspects of our institutions.
- Our commitment to confront and address purposefully, individual acts of racism on our campuses and in our community whenever and wherever we discover them.
- That our community is stronger when we stand together against racism and discrimination in all forms. When we recognize and address racism, we build a more inclusive and welcoming community and an educational experience that challenges oppression and hate.