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.

 

Equity and Inclusion Project

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Satellite Office

two chairs against a wall, a laptop in one chair

Satellite Office

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

When Erin, the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Director of Human Resources, called and told me I got the job of Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion, I envisioned myself setting up shop in a cafeteria or public area, anxious to meet all the Sisters. I thought I would set up a post armed with my warm cup of cream and sugar (with a pinch of coffee) listening to the Sisters share where in the world their life’s commitment had taken them. I looked forward to working at a table during lunch to be available to socialize and learn. So much of this job is relationship building and I was excited about that opportunity. So much of this job is listening, sharing, and connecting. Again, I was excited about that ­– coming from the student in me whose report card and parent-teacher conferences always centered around my need to socialize. Many teachers wrote something like, “Kevin needs to spend more time studying and less time socializing.” They were right, but creating relationships was always more important to me than doing well on a history test.

During my first day, Erin explained that the building’s cafeteria was another victim of COVID-19. On my first day, my plan was changed. I love my office – it’s quiet and my window overlooks the circular driveway outside of Weber Retreat and Conference Center. It is a great space, but much removed. Over the first few weeks, I looked for a good place to interact with Sisters and Co-workers. One morning while making my coffee run to Weber Center, I found my spot. The chairs just outside the elevator and to the right of the coffee stand is where I set up shop. Each day I make sure to grab my laptop and station myself in my satellite office. I pound away on my laptop and greet everyone who passes by.

I must admit I’m struggling with names, and I feel horrible about that. Each day I am greeted with hellos personalized with my name. I am trying to learn names and eventually I will know everyone, but right now I search for name tags or badges to make note of names. The other challenge is masks. I never realized how different people look with or without a mask. My mind usually takes a mental picture of a person’s cheeks and eyes and then fills in the blank area of the face covered with a mask. To date, my fabricated and disjointed picture created in my mind has yet to be correct. The good news: I know exactly when the masks will be lifted and the protocols will ease – it’ll be the day after I recognize everyone in a mask. I will have to start over the next day when the removal of masks reveals an employee’s cheek bones, nose, and chin that are no where close to how I assumed they would look.

I ask for grace both now and when the masks are (someday) put away. Until then, stop by and introduce yourself over and over. Sit down, let’s talk and get to know each other.

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