Dear Marymount Community,
I wanted to reach out and thank all of the students, alumni, faculty and staff who attended Wednesday’s Prayer Vigil and “Saints in Solidarity” listening session. It was incredibly moving and impactful for all involved, and provided us with an opportunity to mourn Black lives lost to racial violence and police brutality while also listening and learning from each other as we grow as individuals and as a University community. If you were not able to attend, I invite you to watch this recap video on our website.
One specific concern we heard in the Listening Session referenced the removal of a social media post last Saturday which included the message, “Black Lives Matter.” This was the wrong decision. We apologize and acknowledge the impact this decision has had on our Marymount community
I have shared in a previous email our rationale for doing so; however, it is the impact of our actions rather than the intent behind them that is most important. Many of you shared your deep appreciation for the original post as well as your disappointment and frustration at its removal. In the days since removing the post, we have all been in deep reflection. We realize it’s imperative to stand up for what we believe in, that our community members of color feel unequivocally supported, and that we take full accountability with continued action.
We will use your input to finalize a plan that creates recommendations to address systemic issues that impact people of color at Marymount University. The University will continue its support of our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee, one of our seven priorities in our Strategic Plan. The D&I Committee and Brooke Berry, JD, our new Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion, is working closely with myself and fellow Cabinet members as we implement changes to better serve our students and employees who have felt unheard. We are working to strengthen our bias incident reporting process to justly address issues of bias, prejudice and discrimination. Throughout the summer, we will continue to have virtual conversations about inclusion, belonging and respect. We encourage you to be a part of these conversations and be part of the solution.
And we know those are just the first steps – we have to do more. Marymount is at a crucial juncture, and we will rely on our guiding principles to promote a sense of safety and belonging for all.
Be safe and healthy, and God bless,
Irma Becerra, Ph.D.
2807 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22207
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