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Loyola University New Orleans launches “United for Racial Justice Week”

Loyola press release - September 9, 2016

Faculty from across the disciplines unite for one week to teach subjects related to racial justice.

Loyola University New Orleans stays true to its social justice mission, hosting “Loyola United for Racial Justice Week,” an awareness effort that will span disciplines across the campus. During the week of Sept. 12-18, Loyola faculty across all disciplines will use class time for a “teach-in” on racial justice. To round out the week, Loyola will host a series of mini-seminars led by some of Loyola’s leading faculty.

“Following the devastating events of this summer, many Loyola faculty felt called to respond through teaching and student engagement,” said Assistant Professor of History/African-American Studies Ashley Howard. “Loyola United for Racial Justice week provides an opportunity to unite across the university to focus our efforts on educating our students to understand and engage in the complex, multi-disciplinary aspects of racial justice. In this week, faculty are encouraged to dedicate class time to a reading or discussion related to these issues, rooted in their own disciplinary field and ideally integrated into their already existing curricula.”

Central to Loyola’s mission are Jesuit ideals, including: learning from experience, contemplative vision formed by hope, commitment to service, special concern for the poor and oppressed, and linking faith with justice. Diversity and inclusivity are constant themes at Loyola and since late summer faculty have been working to incorporate themes of racial justice into their class curriculums.

“All week long, all across campus, Loyola faculty and students will unite in an effort to educate one another, raise awareness, and foster understanding of issues related to racial justice,” said Laura Murphy, associate professor of English/African-American Studies and director of The Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola.

Next week, Howard will in one class teach critical race theory at both national and international levels, using Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” In another, she will teach students about comparative racial justice demands. Murphy will focus the week’s teaching on the legacies of slavery in contemporary inequality.

Assistant Professor of History Rian Thum will teach racial and ethnic and religious oppression in Western China, while Assistant Professor of History Nikki Eggers will in a global history class teach “Native Lives Matter.” In the School of Nursing, Warren Hebert will teach transcultural nursing theory in online classes for the Master of Science in Nursing degree program.

“Promoting diversity, inclusivity, and social justice are key to our mission as a Jesuit university,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Marc Manganaro. “Through this teach-in, departments and faculty across campus have committed to educating students on issues related to racial justice and encouraging students to translate contemplation into action.”

The university’s Multicultural Leadership Council is excited to present “In My Own Words,” an interactive exhibit from 12 to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12 in the Danna Student Center’s One Loyola Room. The exhibit will ask participants to explore the meaning of being an ally and what allyship means to them. The event will showcase the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement and pose the questions for the community to answer via a free response board. Participants may also document their experience through video by recording a snippet about what allyship and Black Lives Matter means to them as a member of the Loyola community.

The University Honors program will host guest speaker Marjorie Esman, executive director of the Louisiana ACLU to discuss “Race and Voting Rights,” at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12 in Monroe Library, Multimedia Seminar, Room 1.

To round out the week, Loyola faculty and staff leaders in social justice will host a series of mini-seminars on racial justice from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15 in Monroe Library. These mini-seminars will be led by faculty and staff discussion leaders and will cover topics such as oppression, racism in the criminal justice system, the Pulse massacre and its implications for LGBT minorities, racial erasure and other topics. To wrap up, African-American Studies faculty will lead a pivotal discussion entitled “Where do we go from here?”