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

April 15-22, 2021: Weeklong culmination of the Justice Summit

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

The Summit on Human Dignity focuses on an issue that is particularly relevant and informs students on its complexities and nuances, as well as its social ramifications.

The 2021 Justice Summit on Human Dignity topic is: Understanding Race in the 21st Century.

This year’s summit will focus on the ways in which systemic racism impacts our society. We are committed to being bridge-builders between people of different backgrounds while living out our mission to form each young man to “seek justice and truth throughout his life.” We will explore a timeline of racial injustice, focusing on redlining in Tacoma.

"A Jesuit education should aim to free [its community] to confront honestly the social injustices of racism, sexism and religious intolerance." ~ What Makes a Jesuit School Jesuit.

We are answering the call from Pope Francis and the Jesuits West province to deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other. Our hope is to help you to think critically about the issues and challenges that you encounter in our increasingly complex world.

Our hope is to graduate young men and women of conscience, compassion and competence who will harness their voices as well as their agency to influence and affect positive change for those most in need of justice and equity.

Please watch the following video introducing our 2021 Justice Summit created by members of our Bellarmine community.

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.

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.

List of 7 items.

  • 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" Statement

    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 them

    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.