Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

Since January 2021, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters have collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022 and shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit.

 

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Better Than Turkey

Cooked chicken leg with vegetables and sauce on a white china plate, rest of roasted chicken visible on a nearby white platter

Better Than Turkey

By Kevin Hofmann 
Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion

The last weekend in November was a tense time for my family growing up. My father was raised in Cleveland and was an Ohio State fan. My siblings and I grew up in Detroit; most of us were Michigan fans. My father was able to find an ally in one of my brothers, so we were a house divided, assuring that every Saturday after Thanksgiving someone in our household would be disappointed and someone would be pointing out just how bad the losing team played.

Rarely was there any control applied by the winning team. The win meant you owned bragging rights for an entire year. It also meant if your team won, you were given the gift of the ability to end every argument and/or conversation with, "Well, it doesn’t matter because my team won in November."

The rest of the year was easy to manage for mother, who tried to keep the peace between the two sides. The most difficult peace-keeping time came immediately after the last whistle of the game. The winners were humble initially, saying how competitive the losing team was and how it was a hard-fought game. Then slowly the boasting would begin, and the joy held by the winning team would erupt into a trash-talking tirade that felt like a thousand tiny arrows shot at your heart if you were on the losing end. The joy would be confronted by anger in the middle of our living room, and anything not cemented to the floor could and was used to make a point. One year when Ohio State lost, my brother chose to make his point by flipping over the coffee table in the middle of the room. The coffee table doubled as a library for our monthly periodicals. So when the table was overturned issues of Reader Digest, Sports Illustrated, Jet, Ebony and the Detroit Free Press rained down on the room. It wasn’t a complete Thanksgiving holiday until something like this occurred.

I still live in a house divided. My wife grew up in Toledo and is a big Buckeye fan. She managed to lure away our youngest. Our eldest is a very smart young man who happens to also be a Wolverine fan, so I too have an ally. My wife doesn’t share my mother’s passion for allowing people to express themselves, so our home isn’t an environment where tables and magazines are overturned. So, on the big weekend, I usually work out in the yard or in the garage while my wife and youngest cheer on the Buckeyes. We respectfully give each other the space we need and don’t speak much about it. It is what we must do to stay family.

The holidays can be very stressful times because of similar relationships; people may not see eye to eye on college teams, political parties, religion, economics, beliefs, etc. Many folks want to know how they can socialize with others who don’t see the world as they do and remain civil. Better yet, many want to know how we make sure the holiday gatherings don’t end with broken furniture and a living room full of destroyed periodicals.

The solution is much simpler than most think. The question to ask before educating your cousin Eugene from Virginia on reproductive rights is, “Is my desire to prove my point more valuable than my relationship with cousin Eugene?” If the answer is yes, then maybe you could spend more time nurturing your relationship with Eugene.

I have a good friend I have known for over 40 years. We grew up together and for most of that time whom we voted for and what we valued were very similar. In 2016 we voted for two different candidates, and I was devastated. I took whom he voted for personally because his candidate said and did things that were in direct conflict with how I wanted to be treated in this life. I was angry and sad initially, but when I asked myself the question above the answer was simple. The relationship was far more valuable than me "showing him the light." Instead, we talk about other things, family, kids, our jobs, the Detroit Lions, or the Michigan Wolverines. I’m so thankful my friend was raised to cheer for the right college football and pro football teams.

If they persist in talking about volatile issues, don’t take the bait. If they continue, simply let them know that you value their relationship and talking about this type of thing may put your relationship at risk, so it is best you find something else to discuss.

At times, it is a tightrope walk but it is necessary and worthwhile. Saturday, I came inside with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. God had returned balance to the world and the Wolverines were leading the Buckeyes. The rightful king returned to his throne and the Wolverines planted their flag at the 50-yard line in the middle of the big "O" on Ohio State’s field and the world seemed perfect. I quietly watched the last of the game and then went back outside to finish taking down the Thanksgiving decorations. There was no boasting, no bragging, no rubbing anyone’s face in it. I understood for the betterment of our family a silent victory is best. By the way, a silent victory still tastes better than turkey.

 

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Avatar  Nancy Murray last monthReply


A clever twist with the turkey, Kevin!



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