On October 17-18, Head of School Marianne Grace and Director of Marketing and Communications Kim Shimer had the privilege of attending a Mercy Education conference at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. The theme was “Through the Lens of Mercy: An In-Depth Look at Racism.” Racism is one of the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns and calls us to work to become an anti-racist community – committed to eliminating personal and institutional racism and dismantling oppressive structures, policies and processes.
The conference’s keynote presentations and breakout sessions with colleagues from around the world provided the historical, political, and social context that led us to where we are today and reflected upon what this Critical Concern means to us as individuals and as Mercy educators. Recognizing that our students are tomorrow’s leaders, the conference also addressed the many ways that we can affect change. How we respond to racism and how we work to heal wounds of injustice will impact our students' perspectives and inspire their actions.
Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of the conference was the call to prayerfully reflect on how we can live out the Church's teaching that: "We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be" (Catholic Social Teaching).
“Among my biggest takeaways,” said Mrs. Grace, “was the essential need for dialogue. Racism cannot be addressed without discussion. These discussions are uncomfortable, but each one of us is called to address the issue, just as we are called in the Gospel to act justly and love mercy (Micah 6:8).”
Merion Mercy Academy continues to find ways to engage the entire MMA community in dialogue, programming and initiatives to advance our important work in this area.