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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

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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 Rachel Jones '08, our Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Rachel works with 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. 

  • Visitation condemns discrimination in all forms.

  • 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.

  • Visitation actively works to eliminate systems of oppression and discrimination by encouraging dialogue around antiracism, equity, and inclusion.

Empathy, Equity, and Social Justice in Action

Last spring, as Kaleidoscope prepared for Visitation's annual Diversity Day, the coronavirus pandemic threw planning off track. Diversity Day was postponed, and the plan for it - the Defamation Experience play - was up in the air. Diversity & Inclusion co-coordinators Raynetta Jackson-Clay and Peggy Hamilton continued working with "DefEx" to pivot this year's Diversity Day to a virtual experience.

Student-Run "Voices of Migrants" Receives $5,000 Grant To Expand Outreach

It all began in a Visitation history classroom. "Voices of Migrants" interviews immigrants and hosts webinars to share their stories. Their letter writing campaign allows for a pen-pal relationship with a child in Colombia, so you can hear their stories. The team - comprised of seniors Marianna, Sara, Rose Schosinski, Annie Paxton, Carolina Permuy, and Carolina Zubler - write blog posts to educate on immigration issues, to share opinions, and share their own stories.

Two Students Become Ambassadors for U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Seniors Evelyn Waddick and Lucia Rathke became ambassadors of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum through its Bringing the Lessons Home program for high school students. As graduates of the program, Evelyn and Lucia can serve as tour guides of the museum and share Holocaust history with others.

Nancy O'Gara '20 Earns NSLI-Y Scholarship to Study Arabic

Inspired by her father's fluency in Arabic, Nancy O'Gara '20 began studying Arabic last summer as part of the Middlebury Language Initiative program. This year, applying to the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program, she received a scholarship to study Arabic over the summer. 

Diversity at Visitation

 

1/3

students are women of color

19

years Visi has attended POCC

5

affinity groups students can join

1

DEI Director

1983

Black Women's Society founded

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. (Explore Visitation's History of Enslaved People Project.)

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

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

 

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.

During the summer of 2020, when we could not be together, we created this series of personal reflections on race. 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. 

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