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.

From January 2021 through June of 2023, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters 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. He shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit and educates on topics of equity and inclusion.

Equity and Inclusion Project


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Tyre Nichols, Our Ancestor

the sun sets over a calm body of water
Tyre Nichols loved photographing sunsets. We share this photo in his memory.

Tyre Nichols, Our Ancestor

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

I didn’t plan on writing a blog this week. I was going to begin Black History Month focusing on Black history, but the Black present seems to be competing with the history to see which can be more traumatic. Last week the present was the clear winner… well, loser.

I haven’t watched the videos yet. It’s part of the process. I must charge myself up to watch it. I must take several days or weeks to prepare myself. I listen to – not watch – the news because I don’t want to be assaulted with the video when I’m not ready. I slowly page through social media keeping one eye out for videos of the beating. If I see something I accelerate past it. I’m not ready yet.

I concentrate on the positive stories (if that is possible after such a brutal tragedy). I like to hear what kind of person they were, what they liked to do, and the food they enjoyed. I listen to family members refer to them in the past tense and I wonder how they did it. How did they come to terms with their loved one that was so recently present but now past?

Through the consistent tragedy of Black lives meeting an early unjustified death, I have come to understand that ancestry has nothing to do with age. I always thought of my ancestors as older folks that are no longer here. I picture white-haired Frederick Douglass or frail little Miss Jane Pittman. Ancestors should never be younger than me. Yet, we keep adding to our ancestors from the same fountain. The fountain that convinces some that the color of our skin makes us a threat and blinds them to the threat that they have become.

The list goes on and on it seems. Emmett Till, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, John Crawford III, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant III, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and now Tyre Nichols.

I can see each of their faces just like Frederick Douglass or Miss Jane Pittman. They were killed for a number of reasons:

  • Talking to a white woman

  • Playing music too loud

  • Shoplifting

  • Buying a toy

  • Passing a fake $20 bill

  • Traffic violation

  • Being young

  • Playing in the park

  • Carrying a licensed firearm

  • Selling CDs

  • Selling cigarettes

  • Asking for directions

  • Walking in a neighborhood

  • Jogging in a neighborhood

  • Traffic violation

No matter how I look at them, none of these “offenses” warrant the death penalty. There was a better way to resolve every one of these situations. 

I’m tired of adding to the list. What can we do to stop the growth of this list? 

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Avatar  Joan Baustian last yearReply

was intrigued with Kevin Hoffman's list of 20 women who were heroines in the Black struggle for equality. So....I tried to mak my own list and found that many were single Moms who found ways to feed, clothe and educate their kids. Others were well known in the Detroit area. One, Maureen Taylor from Welfare Rights, was called the "badest woman in Detroit". She is warrior for justice., Kym Worthy has been the prosecutor and known for sending the police for beating Malice Green to death. And Donele Wilkins who has become aleader for environmental justice nationwide. So many women are known only know n their neighborhood or their churches. they have survived the murders of family, neighbors, and church members. I have known 16 of them

Avatar  Aneesah McNamee last yearReply

Thank you Kevin for this excellent blog post. It is so profound and helped me think through this whole tragic thing. I have NOT looked at the video ... even tho they play them endlessly on all the news shows ... I want to remember Tyre as the talented young man he was!
THANK YOU for your work and reflections ... it is much needed not only for us but for everyone - I share them widely! Aneesah McNamee op

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Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois