St. Joseph’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Week — with its emphasis on social responsibility and celebration of the Sisters of St. Joseph tenet for unity for “the dear neighbor” — proved to be a huge success, with hundreds of teachers, staff, students and alumni participating in virtual and on-ground events.
Throughout last week, the College shared inspiring quotes from students, staff and alumni in the story area of its “SJCNY Student Involvement” Instagram account. The social media effort coincided with daily events that focused on strategies and methods to establish a more inclusive campus at SJC Brooklyn and SJC Long Island.
The endeavor encouraged SJC community members to do the following:
- Develop an understanding of frequently used concepts — such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
- Explore and reflect on their social identities through the lens of social justice.
- Learn and engage with perspectives different from one’s own as it relates to intercultural awareness.
- Develop strategies to foster positive meaningful connections on campus and in their communities.
Here are some highlight’s from SJC’s Diversity and Inclusion Week:
Identity Exploration & Storytelling
Josephine Gonzalez, the College’s director of Inclusion & Intercultural Engagement, led a well-attended virtual session on Nov. 17 that encouraged participants to reflect on their own social identities — both independently and in small group discussions through the lens of storytelling.
Social identity topics included race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, participants learned how to examine and challenge their daily practices to begin a journey toward critical consciousness.
Keynote Speaker Says ‘Reach Higher’
Diversity and Inclusion Week’s keynote speaker Derek Greenfield, Ph.D., Ed.D., addressed more than 400 students, faculty and staff during two virtual speaking engagements — one for students on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and a second for faculty and staff the next day.
In “The Time Is Now: Building for Inclusive Excellence, Social Justice and Community at SJC,” Dr. Greenfield shared with the audiences the importance in recognizing and celebrating diversity within society.
“You are not just the future, you are the present,” he told the students. “You are the ones indeed who can do so much to influence not only your peers, but your parents and grandparents and family members. Right now, we need you to be an example of what inclusion and justice and love look like.”
Mindfulness, Social Responsibility and Self-Care
Dr. Mary Schultz, the College’s director of counseling, hosted a Zoom meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19, during which she emphasized the importance of routinely practicing mindfulness.
The session examined how to incorporate mindfulness and self-care techniques into a person’s everyday routine, while also engaging in social justice learning and advocacy. The meeting was open to students, staff, faculty and alumni.
On the week’s final day, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletic Department invited all SJC students, alumni, faculty and staff to unite in a walk/jog/run to raise awareness for the need to end racism and social injustice. Community members picked between meeting in person for a socially distant loop around the SJC Brooklyn campus or in a virtual format.
Participants were asked to reflect on the following questions:
- What is your earliest experience dealing with race and/or racism?
- What’s an example of racism that you have experienced, witnessed or heard about?
- What are some ways you combat racism in your professional or personal circles?
- What are some ways you further educate yourself on topics related to race and racism?
- What are some ways St. Joseph can continue to build an inclusive community?
SJCNY Student Involvement Instagram Story
Scroll through the Instagram posts below to see what some members of the St. Joseph’s community had to say about their own experiences with diversity and inclusion.