Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
“We can never say, it is enough..."
-Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy
Rooted in Catholic Social Thought
Two years ago, Mercy's administration formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) faculty and staff committee as well as work teams. It is committed to a school culture that stimulates diversity of thought, supports equity in opportunity, and creates a learning environment where Mercy students and their families, along with faculty, staff, and community partners feel a strong sense of belonging and safety. Twenty faculty and staff meet regularly to ensure that the faculty teaches with equity in mind and encourages Mercy students to create a positive and inclusive environment.
Natalie Cirigiliano Brosnan ‘02, Head of School
Vashti Sinigayan ‘99, Board DEI Chair
Sabrina Avenido ‘22, Student Representative
FACULTY & STAFF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Aurora Kearney Nevett
Joy Phillips Claire Rietmann-Grout
DEI MISSION STATEMENT
Our mission is to raise awareness of and promote the necessary values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that are rooted in Catholic Social Thought through continued collaboration and dialogue with our Mercy Burlingame community and partnerships. In this journey of growth and transformation, we seek to discover how we can better support our students, teachers, staff, and parents in our sustained commitment to uphold a diverse, equitable and inclusive school culture for all – Mercy In Harmony.
COMMITMENT TO GROWTH
Affirmed by our shared commitment to the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, we are grounded in asking ourselves and our larger Mercy community to:
1. Enter into a process of discernment, personally examining one’s own biases and acknowledging one’s own privileges;
2. Reflectively confront and address that which is discovered through self-interrogation; and
3. Create opportunities to enhance our school’s culture to reflect the values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at every level.
This can be seen through our work this semester engaging faculty and staff in anti-racism trainings led by Be the Change Consulting, holding a DEI evening for alumnae to listen for areas of growth, and creating a faculty/staff book club.
Additionally, Mercy students, parents, alumnae, faculty and staff participated in 13 listening sessions over the summer. Both the positive and challenging experiences that were shared continue to influence our DEI objectives.
The DEI committee is seeking your input about anything at Mercy that impacts Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If you feel that there is something the school needs to address, an incident that needs further support, or that you are not being heard in some way, please use this feedback form to let the DEI committee know.
Positive experiences that you would like to highlight or examples of what is going well are welcome too. We commit to responding to your request or comment within a week. For urgent matters, please fill out this form and email the DEI Co-Chairs at DEI@mercyhsb.com.
The DEI Committee created an optional book club for faculty and staff. It is the hope of the committee that these readings and discussions will provide a common grounding for the Mercy community as it continues to address our DEI work going forward.
Last year, our community members met in small groups to discuss So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and How to be an Anti Racist by Ibram X. Kendi.
STUDENT DANCE PROJECT
“Dear Black Girl” (Click on image above to play the video.)
Last semester, students in the Dance 5 and 6 Honors class studied how dance can be used as a vehicle to generate conversations around social justice and awareness topics. Each student was tasked with choreographing their own final solo piece centered around a social topic they were passionate about. The students researched and selected spoken word poetry to be used as the background "music" centered on the topic they were physically embodying and chose a site-specific location to dance in, aimed to enhance their piece.
Junior Ariana Montiel ‘22 choreographed this beautiful and powerful dance piece centered around her own embodied experience about loving herself as a young woman of color. The spoken word piece is entitled "Dear Black Girl" by Candace Nicholas Lippmand and Ari filmed her dance in Balmy Alley, her backdrop consisting of a mural called "Women of Resistance."
Joy Thiesen Braunstein M.F.A. ("Ms. J")
VPA: Faculty Dance Instructor
STUDENT VISUAL ARTS PROJECTS
Latinx Artists to Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month
The artwork featured shows a small sampling of Mercy art student works and their exploration of Latinx artists. It's always important to engage in creative spaces that allow students to learn and develop visual competency across a variety of cultures. As a community, we challenged our students to celebrate Latinx artists, but also engage critically with their messages.
Mrs. Shardie Ezell
2D Art & Photography Teacher