Diversity & Inclusion
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
At St. Barnabas, we believe we see God in all people and that we belong to each other. Therefore, we are committed to fostering an inclusive community in which each person feels a sense of value and belonging. Doing so will create a welcoming community where all voices have power and diversity is celebrated.
Within our school and the larger parish community, as part of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we commit to confronting and challenging societal biases and racism. We must march along a path toward greater equity and justice with humility, authenticity, and compassion.
Get involved in St. Barnabas's ongoing diversity and inclusion work:
Barnabas Cultural Inclusion Book Club: Dare to Lead
We are excited to report that our first parent-staff-parishioner book club selection, facilitated by Jessica Oladapo,founder of Diversity 2 Inclusion, was a success! As a primer to deeper conversations about anti-racism, we read and discussed Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. Jessica lead a virtual discussion with some of our staff, faculty, parents and parishioners in March. We will share our next Book Club selection as soon as details have been finalized. Once it's selected, we encourage you to get the book from your local library, bookstore (i.e. Bookies at 10324 S. Western Ave.) or Amazon.
There are calls across our nation for Americans of conscience, especially white Americans, to commit to becoming "anti-racist." This term can mean many different things, but at its core, to be anti-racist is to acknowledge that a personal commitment to colorblindness and personal decency and civility to all people is not enough to finally end the sad legacy of racism and the damage it causes our entire nation. Racism, especially toward the non-white, is built into too many institutions, organizations, assumptions and attitudes, often in ways white people cannot easily see. Intentional work to dismantle systems of prejudice and racism needs to occur. Sometimes, bringing this hard truth up in a largely white community can cause fear, anxiety, and even anger.
What does our Christian faith have to say about the goal of becoming "anti-racist"? This spring, throughout the Lent and Easter seasons, about a dozen St. Barnabas school parents and parishioners are going to read, pray, think, and discuss (maybe even argue a bit) about hard questions of racism from the perspective of Christian faith, using a program called JustFaith. JustFaith is a non-profit organization founded by a Catholic lay minister a little over twenty years ago. It exists to provide Christian communities with resources and direction in confronting the truth that the work of justice, especially for the poor and marginalized, is not ancillary or optional to Christianity. The work of building a more just world is constitutive of what it means to be a Christian--at least, it should be. Our hope is that at the end of several months together, we will have come together to prayerfully ask ourselves what must be done to make sure that St. Barnabas is a place fully committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the area of racial justice. Please pray for us as we take this journey together. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labor.
Student Culture Club
Watch our 2021 Black History Month Assembly Video, "Celebrating Black Culture Past, Present and Future," here! The assembly was organized by our student Culture Club and Student Council. Thank you to all the students and teachers who worked so hard to make this virtual assembly a reality.
The above statement was created in communion with leadership of St. Barnabas’s Parish and School, as well as discernment by the Peace and Justice Committee, and the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Its intent is to serve as an organizing statement that describes the shared mission of our work throughout the Parish and School.
Central to our Catholic faith, as stated in the Catechism, is “respect for the human person and the rights which flow from human dignity and guarantee it.”
As we seek justice through faith and works, and support the mission of Catholic education, St. Barnabas Parish commits itself to the ongoing work of addressing racism.
This work aligns with our Church and Archdiocese’s past statements:
Francis Cardinal George “Dwell In My Love, A Pastoral Letter on Racism,” 2002: “The Spirit calls us to reflect about how we embody God's salvation and his universal love in parishes and schools, in the Pastoral Center and in other Catholic institutions.”
The U.S. Conference on Bishops, “Open Wide Our Hearts, A Pastoral Letter on Racism,” 2018: “Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality — economic and social — that we still see all around us.”
Bishop Cupich and Bishop Horace Smith, Tribune op-ed, 2020: “Seeing injustice is but the first step on the road to justice. Taking that step means being able to put aside one’s own fears and sensitivities surrounding the issue of racial injustice...It means, in a word, cultivating empathy.”