Justice Summit on Human Dignity: Understanding Race in the 21st Century

Justice Summit
April 20 - 24, 2020

Bellarmine is embarking on its first all-school Justice Summit in which we will journey together to take a deep dive into a Justice issue. As part of our Jesuit roots we are called walk with the excluded. In solidarity with other Jesuit schools we choose to participate in the Justice Summit. 

Each year, we will explore different aspects of the chosen topic through Ignatian Formation activities, guest speakers, guided compassionate conversations and discussions, break-out sessions, student panels, cross-curricular work, faculty and staff professional development, and community discussions culminating in a week-long Summit held in the Spring.

This year’s topic is “Understanding Race in the 21st Century.”

Please watch the following video introducing our 2020 Justice Summit created by members of our Bellarmine community.


Understanding Race in the 21st Century from Gray Media Productions on Vimeo.

Student Goals of Justice Summit

The Justice Summit will address the theme of race and will be guided by the following goals:

  • Students will understand that race is social not biological.
  • Students will understand that for some, dealing with race is a daily reality while others may have to make a more concerted effort to be reflective and attentive to the challenges that race presents.
  • Students will value multiple points of view in their moral, social, and academic thinking.
  • Students will be able to recognize and respond appropriately to racial prejudice and injustice.

7 Principles of Constructive Dialogue

To guide our conversations, all members of our community will commit to following the 7 Principles of Constructive Dialogue.

These Principles will provide the framework for respectful conversations so we may all learn and grow from each other’s insights and perspectives.

The following seven Principles were introduced in the video.

1. Presume good intentions

If someone says something you disagree with, assume that the person has good intent. 
Seek to understand WHY someone may have different ideas and experiences than you.

2. Use “I” statements

For example, use statements such as “I think” or “I feel” to begin your comment or response rather than telling others what they should think or feel.

Speak about your experiences and things that are true for you.

3. Understand that the speaker’s experience is valid for him/her

Although an individual’s experience may be different than yours, that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Seek to understand WHY another person may be having a different experience than you and try to see the situation from their perspective.

4. Ask questions of others as individuals

While we all belong to different groups, you shouldn’t expect one person to speak for their entire race.

Seek to understand individual experiences rather than over-generalizing and making assumptions about an entire group based on one person’s experience within that group.

5. Listen to understand, not to respond

Sometimes when we are talking with someone, we are focused on what we are going to say in response and we fail to hear the other person.

Seek to fully understand another’s perspective before you respond.

6. Recognize that one’s intent may differ from one’s impact

Be mindful of your intent when you share and also be sure that what you say does not have a harmful impact on another.

Too often, we default to saying things like “That’s not what I meant,” or “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Think about the impact of your words before you say them.

7. Seek to raise the bar for yourself, your teachers, and your classmates

Enter in to this journey with the mindset of upholding all aspects of the Grad at Grad (Open to Growth, Loving, Intellectually Competent, Religious, and Committed to Doing Justice).

Seek to lift up those around you and influence our community in a positive way.


Terms and Definitions

RACE = A socially constructed category based on perceived appearance. How one physically appears to other people.

ETHNICITY = One’s ancestral background.

NATIONALITY = One’s citizenship or national affinity, what country you were born in or moved to, and then changed citizenship.

CULTURE = Refers to ways of seeing and ways of being. It consists of values, beliefs, social habits, systems of language, cuisine, music, and practices people share in common and that can be used to define them as a collective.

Culture is based on who you are which includes race, ethnicity, religion, or place of birth, and what you have experienced.