News
Fr. McShane presides the Opening Mass of the Week of Reflection on Race Relations in America at Fordham University Church on Sun., March 1, 2015.
Fordham Organizes Week of Reflection on Race Relations in America

From March 1st to March 8th, the Fordham University community engaged in a Week of Reflection on Race Relations in America. Invited by Father Joseph McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, faculty, students, and administrators reflected on issues of racial justice in America through a series of events held across the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. The events, including a special liturgy, community gathering and conversation, and film screening, were grounded in Fordham’s broader and ongoing efforts to intentionally reflect, discuss and address racism both within the university community and in the broader Bronx community.

Fr. McShane opened the week by presiding at a Mass on Sun., March 1, at the University Church with an intentional focus on racial equality. “In the past few months, a series of highly charged events have both shaken our country and called into question our resolve to create and to live as a nation distinguished by racial equality, harmony, and mutual respect,” said Fr. McShane in reflecting on the importance of the week. “Since we are members of a Jesuit university community, we are called to work for justice and national healing in a special way. Indeed we are challenged to examine the causes of racial inequality, to identify remedies, and to engage in transforming acts of mediation and reconciliation.” 

One event designed to engage the Fordham community in acts of mediation and reconciliation was the Undoing Racism Collective Community Gathering, held simultaneously via video conference on both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses on March 2. The Fordham Undoing Racism Collective, a group of students, faculty and staff who have attended the Undoing Racism/Community organizing workshop held by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), spearheaded the March 2nd conversation, providing a space for people from across the university to discuss and strategize sustainable ongoing racial justice events and to examine issues of racial justice within the university community. The community gathering offered space for small group conversation, where attendees shared with each other aspects of their individual cultural identity and personal experiences of racism.

Since 2006, the Fordham community has been examining the ongoing impact of racism in an extraordinary way through the PISAB Undoing Racism workshop. Offered across the country, the PISAB training offers a systemic approach that - through dialogue, reflection, role-playing, strategic planning and presentations - challenges participants to analyze the structures of power and privilege that hinder social equity. Participants are also shaped to be effective organizers for justice.  

Kelsey Vizzard, a Fordham senior, presents a summary of the conversations and activities organized by students since the fall of 2014 in response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The Collective’s purpose is to create events to allow a larger number of students to discuss racism and ways to undo it.

The PISAB training has been an important tool to give Fordham staff, faculty and students the social analysis tools to more deeply respond to racism. Kelsey Vizzard, a senior and student presenter during Fordham’s March 2nd community gathering, participated in the two-and-a-half day PISAB workshop in the fall of 2014 and has been attending meetings of the Fordham Collective since. 

“It was an amazing eye-opener that gave me the right language to talk about racism,” said Kelsey. “As a Collective, we meet the first Monday of every month,” said Kelsey. “It is such a great experience to have a space where students, faculty and staff come together to discuss racism and ways to start undoing it.”  

Sarah Allison and Scarly Rodriguez, Fordham juniors and two of the Dorothy Day Center's Social Justice leaders, demonstrated the impact of the Undoing Racism workshop in a powerful speech they gave at the 2014 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington D.C. organized by the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN). 

The PISAB training format has also been useful to Fordham faculty. “In February 2012 there was an incident on campus that made students aware to the point that they decided to bring the Undoing Racism training on campus,” noted Fordham theology professor and Service-Learning Program director, Dr. Jeannine Hill Fletcher. “From then, many faculty members have taken it as well.”

Fordham’s racial justice work will continue well beyond the week of reflection. The school is in the early planning stages to organize a Fordham Racial Justice Teach-In during the fall 2015 semester. Structured along the lines of ISN’s Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, the Undoing Racism Collective hopes this event will be an opportunity to bring together a larger number of students, faculty, and staff to discuss ways to undo racism on and off campus. When asked what her hope for Fordham University moving forward is, Dr. Hill Fletcher does not hesitate: “I’d like to see Fordham as an anti-racist institution. It’s not enough not to be racist. In light of recent events, it is crucial to actively work together as a University community on how it might look like to start undoing racism.”





Recent News

July 17, 2018 - Fordham Prep students are taking part in a two-week long, in-depth learning experience called Expeditionaries, which offers them the opportunity to learn what it means to be a social entrepreneur rooted in Ignatian principles.

July 17, 2018 - Five men discerning Jesuit vocations took part in the new “Week of Service and Prayer with the Jesuits,” an immersion experience hosted by the East Coast vocations team, which offered a sense of what it is like to live in a Jesuit community, experience Ignatian prayer and to accompany those in need at numerous service sites throughout New York City.

July 16, 2018 - Fr. Gerard H. Ettlinger, SJ, was called to eternal life on July 15, 2018. Fr. Ettlinger was born on Sept. 30, 1935, entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on July 30, 1953, and was ordained on June 9, 1966. He pronounced his final vows on Aug. 15, 1975.

July 9, 2018 - In his July prayer video, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of praying for priests and their ministry. “Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.”

July 3, 2018 - IgnatianSpirituality.com, a service of Loyola Press, is offering 31 Days with St. Ignatius a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality. In honor of the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola on July 31, bookmark the site or sign up for emails containing daily articles, blog posts, and videos to help you explore the riches of Ignatian spirituality.

July 3, 2018 — The project, headed by Fr. John Pungente, SJ, wraps up 40 years of conversation about modern media.

June 21, 2018 — Jesuit organizations denounce the Trump Administration’s “morally repugnant” policies and practices.

view all news

Search news







Campion Renewal Center
Campion Renewal Center, situated 20 miles west of Boston, is located in a peaceful setting that provides plenty of walking trails through the woods and fields.