Over the past several weeks, the Hartford Seminary community has worked to address issues of racial justice and inclusion in a variety of ways—from webinars, to participation in rallies, marches, and fasting initiatives. But what’s also clear is that we need to do more.
To that end, Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr recently wrote faculty and staff encouraging the Seminary community to work with him and senior leaders to address how we as an organization—systemically—will deliver on our commitment to support racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Questions of racial justice and the inclusion of all people in society and at Hartford Seminary, especially those most at risk, historically less privileged, or oppressed, go to the very core of our mission and identity,” President Lohr said.
The Seminary will also be asking questions about how we message our commitment, both online and in physical spaces.
“Let me be unequivocal. Hartford Seminary is committed to Black Lives Matter as an institution,” President Lohr said. “But how do we communicate that effectively? And what does that really mean?”
The Seminary’s senior leadership team, led by Academic Dean David D. Grafton and Chief Operating Officer Ann Crawford, has been tasked with leading an exploration of these questions and to make community based recommendations rooted in action—a deep, foundational educational commitment that goes to the Seminary’s core and informs everything we do.
Doing so will require bringing in and engaging with multiple partners as co-leaders—including students, faculty, staff, alumni, Trustees, and community members—white individuals and people of color, with the impetus for change resting particularly on those who are white.
As a starting point, President Lohr has charged senior leaders with submitting a rough, initial draft of a plan by July 6. From there additional input will be sought and work done to enact meaningful change.
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