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Diversity & Inclusion

"God is present everywhere, and every person is His work."

- St. Francis de Sales

In keeping with our mission of “Living Jesus,” Georgetown Visitation is committed to fostering an institutional culture which honors the dignity and sacredness of every individual. As a Salesian community, we derive strength from the belief that all people, as children of God, merit respect and equality. To fulfill the mission of preparing students to respond in a Christ-like manner to others, the Church and the global community, we recognize that it is vital to continue to develop and maintain an environment which values diversity, in all its multiplicity. Georgetown Visitation believes that we are strengthened intellectually and morally when diverse voices, perspectives, and backgrounds are present. We believe God calls us actively to embrace empathy, equity, and social justice in our work to educate women of faith, vision, and purpose.

- Georgetown Visitation Philosophy of Community Culture

Living Our Mission

Our formal diversity program was started with the encouragement of then President Sister Mary Berchmans Hannan, VHM, '48 & '50 in 2000. Our efforts are led by a team comprising the schools Diversity Co-Coordinators, Raynetta Jackson-Clay and Peggy Judge Hamilton ‘85; the Board Diversity & Inclusion Committee; the Alumnae Diversity & Inclusion Committee; and the Parents’ Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee in partnership with our Head of School and Principal. The Board Committee includes members of Visitation’s faculty and staff, including Admissions and College Counseling.

At Visitation, we respect the individuality of each member of the community always recognizing, to paraphrase the words of Francis de Sales, that in the Lord’s garden there are many different flowers and their very differences contribute to the beauty of the whole garden. We build a faith community that calls our members to understand the value of diversity and to respect the dignity of each person. 

  • The school seeks faculty, staff, and students from a variety of backgrounds whose diverse gifts enrich the community.

  • Diversity programs educate students through activities such as conferences, workshops, clubs, and service.

  • Policies and programs support the different academic, social, and economic needs of the school community.

  • The school encourages a practical living of the Salesian virtues by fostering self-respect and thoughtful concern for others.

  • The Board of Trustees and administration ensure the presence of Salesian values in all school policies.

 

The continued violence against Black people in America is unconscionable. As educators, particularly Catholic educators, we are called to reflect on how we can effect change, dismantle systemic racism, and to educate our community. As the next generation of women of faith, vision, and purpose, our students are called to be anti-racist and anti-violence change makers in a world that demands change.

It is difficult to not be together right now, to not be able to have these deeply important conversations in person. So we have created this summer series of our personal reflections on race to help bridge the divide until we are reunited.

We stand together on this journey and invite you to listen to our personal reflections on race. Please feel free to email any of us with questions or to continue the conversation. We are here to listen and, above all, we are committed to positive change.

By the Numbers

girls

1/3

students identify as young women of color

heart

19

years Visitation has attended NAIS People of Color Conference

 

paw

5

affinity groups students can join

lamp

2

Diversity Co-Coordinators

gv

1983

Black Women's Society was founded

6

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Professional Development at Visitation

For nearly 20 years, diversity & inclusion has been a vital part of professional development for Visitation educators. During that time, the school has sent between two and eight faculty and staff members each year to the National Association of Independent Schools' People of Color Conference in addition to several other local workshops, events, and webinars. 

Last year, Visitation welcomed Georgetown University's Dr. Marcia Chatelain to campus for a workshop on how to teach about slavery. (For more on Visitation's History of Enslaved People Project, click here.)

We also welcomed back alumna and Board member Katrina Fludd '04 for a session on identity and empathy in diverse spaces.

Throughout the year, adults on campus are invited to participate in a diversity and inclusion professional learning community, hosted by Diversity Co-Coordinators Raynetta Jackson-Clay and Peggy Judge Hamilton '85. In recent years, this group has read and discussed the following books, which we recommend:

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD

Headlines & Happenings

Vatican Advisor, Visi Parent Kim Daniels Models and Discusses Strong Catholic Female Leadership

On February 19, the young women of Visitation, their parents, faculty and staff, and alumnae who gathered in the Nolan Center were witness to a sterling example of a woman of faith, vision, and purpose. Kim Daniels’ self-evident intellect, poise, elocution, diplomacy, and, above all, deep faith, make it clear why she was chosen by the Vatican in 2016 to serve as Secretariat for Communications.

Students Explore Civil Discourse, Diversity at National Conference

Six members of Kaleidoscope, Visitation’s multicultural club and leaders of our annual Diversity Day, visited Nashville for a national independent school conference on diversity and leadership. Immediately pushed outside their comfort zone, the girls thrived, forging their own paths and making new friends. They all came away with a similar lesson: civil discourse is a necessary and important part of a diverse community. 

Globally Minded Students Support Nigerian Entrepreneurship

Five Visitation students are eager to make a difference for one business in Nigeria. Together, they’re problem-solving and fundraising, led by Nicky Campos-Vasquez ‘21 as part of the Leadership Initiatives’ International Business Internship Program (IBIP). 

Celebrating Black History Month: Black Women's Society Holds Annual Assembly

Every year, Visitation’s Black Women Society (BWS) celebrates Black History Month with an all-school assembly. For decades, BWS has honored the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans through compelling speeches, skits, and performances. This year's presentation explored the legacy of Motown Records: the most successful independent record company in history, and the first African-American-owned record label to achieve National acclaim.

Students Advocate for Refugees on Capitol Hill

Juniors Rosie McLaughlin, Reilly Talbot, and Katie Troxell headed to Capitol Hill last week with religion teacher Eileen Hudson '78 as part of their Praxis project on the refugee crisis in the United States. While working on Praxis projects, a part of the Religion III curriculum, students develop research-based solutions to social injustices; they educate their peers about an issue of their choice and learn how to advocate for change.

Visitation Remembers: Emancipation Day 2019

On April 16, 1862, 12 men, women, and children who had been enslaved by the Sisters of the Visitation were emancipated when President Abraham Lincoln and representatives in Congress liberated over 3,100 people enslaved in the District of Columbia. On the anniversary of that day, the Visitation community came together to remember those 12 individuals and pray the Stations of the Cross, reflecting on the Lenten message of remembrance.

Visitation Masqueraders to perform “Letters to Sala”

On Nov. 22, 23, and 24, the Visitation Masqueraders will put on the fall play “Letters to Sala,” by Arlene Hutton, based on the book “Sala’s Gift” by Ann Kirschner. The play tells the story of Ann’s discovery of her mother Sala’s secret letters from Nazi labor camps during the Holocaust. Ann discovers a heritage she did not know she had, and Sala relives her experiences in the camps through the letters.

Diversity Day Gives Students Tools for Courageous Conversations

April 3 marked Visitation's 17th annual Diversity Day program. The Kaleidoscope Club this year chose to focus on "Courageous Conversations," recognizing the need for open, honest, and respectful dialogue at all levels: globally, nationally, locally, and within our community. Jamie Adasi '06, an experienced facilitator for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, was the school's keynote speaker.

Student Clubs Sponsor Community Discussion on Ferguson, Missouri

On Oct. 30, the Visitation community gathered to discuss the tragedy and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. The discussion, entitled “A Town Called Ferguson, A Place Called America,” was led by Dr. Marcia Chatelain, a Georgetown University assistant history professor.

Sophomores Discover the History of Washington

Our sophomores participated in a day of exploration of D.C. neighborhoods, visiting locations like H Street Corridor, Brookland, and U Street Corridor, to learn about the history of each neighborhood.

Student Diversity Leadership Conference Expands Horizons

On December 4, six Visitation students joined Visitation Diversity Co-Coordinators Raynetta Jackson-Clay and Peggy Hamilton to fly to Seattle, WA for the two-day intensive Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. Seniors Niani Benjamin, Sophia Isacco, Ruth Hailu, Tatsie Masters, Beth Merga, and Nancy O'Gara joined nearly 1,600 high school student leaders from around the country and the world for the multiracial, multicultural gathering.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Education

Diversity Day: A Visitation Tradition

It Takes a Village

In the Classroom

Lesson Plan: Approaching Difficult Topics from Multiple Angles Ignites Students’ Passion

Girls Meet World: Praxis Projects & Social Justice

On Our Bookshelf

Visitation consciously and continuously explores how to expand the diversity of authors read during a student’s four years at Visitation. In addition to essays and poetry from authors like Toni Morrison and Langston Hughes, a few of the books that are currently part of the curriculum are:

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
  • Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Meet Our Alumnae

Black Women of Faith, Vision & Purpose

What the World Needs Now