Dear Seminary Community,
This nation and the church continue to reckon with the insidious reality of racism. Our society is consistently witnessing how the legacy of racism continues to damage and destroy the lives of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among people of color has also magnified disparities in healthcare and economic well-being.
As an institution of the church, we must reflect deeply about our own community and actively commit ourselves to antiracist education and action. As I wrote to you this summer, Princeton Seminary is committed to the doing of justice, and as a community of faith and learning we are called, collectively and individually, to continue the work of antiracism together.
Over the summer months, the Antiracism and Educational Platforms Task Force, composed of students, administrators, faculty, and a member of the Board of Trustees, listening to the voices of our community, developed an Antiracism Formational Platform that will engage the entire Seminary in this critical work. I am grateful to this task force for their faithfulness and thoughtfulness in developing the framework of design principles and a plan to provide antiracism training for and with every member of the Seminary community.
This work has already begun with orientation for new and returning students, and it will continue throughout the year with training and learning opportunities for students, faculty, staff and administrators. This work is not optional and will be required of all of us. This will include:
- Faculty, administration, students, and staff will be required to attend seminars on antiracism conducted by an external trainer. The seminars will include Implicit Bias assessment and training as a first step in creating an Equity Lens, which is essential to begin the difficult work of developing antiracism philosophy and practice. More information on the scope of the seminars and the external trainer will be forthcoming.
- Training for Antiracism Advocates by an external trainer will be conducted for all constituencies of the Seminary. The goal is to develop small discussion and action groups in the spring 2021 semester facilitated by the Antiracism Advocates.
- A list of educational resources (books, articles, podcasts, webinars, and videos) is available on the Seminary's antiracism microsite and will continue to be updated as new resources are made available.
- In partnership with the Chapel Office, we will weave threads of antiracist reflection and racial healing into our community's worshipping life.
- We will also engage and learn from alumni in this important work. The Seminary is creating and sending an antiracism alumni survey with the help of the Alumni Association Executive Council that begins to identify antiracism needs within various alumni contexts and ministries; antiracism resources, including potential partners and mentors for alumni and students; and stories related to racism and antiracism within our alumni community so that we may share some of those stories more broadly.
You can read the entire plan from the Antiracism and Educational Platforms Task Force in this report by Dr. Victor Aloyo, chair of the Task Force. Dr. Aloyo will also lead a team that will focus on implementing the plan this year. This newly formed group, which will be appointed this fall, will include diverse representation of faculty, students, and administrators.
You will hear more about these plans in the weeks to come and will receive invitations to participate. Antiracism work will be an ongoing process that depends on the leading of God's Spirit, the collaboration of every member of our community, and concrete action steps. This is essential work for people of faith, and we continue this work together.
M. Craig Barnes
President, Princeton Theological Seminary