September 1, 2020
Mercy Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan Update

Welcome from New Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion
Traci Smith
Hello Mercy Community!

I am so excited and honored to serve as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion this year. My biggest hope is to help all students reach their academic potential and be there to support their growth by ensuring that Mercy is a just and equitable community. I am looking forward to building relationships with community members and stakeholders in order to co-labor on behalf of our students. One of the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy is “recognizing and dismantling institutional racism in order to become an anti-racist multicultural community.” I am committed to diligently addressing this issue in order to make a “Just Mercy.” Let’s get to work!
Mercy DEI Progress Report & Timeline

During a time in America when injustices against Black people were being broadcasted for the world to witness this summer, the Mercy community was not exempt from the pain. Current students and alumnae used their courageous voices to express their Mercy experiences of injustice. Mercy High School Administration, in partnership with Black Alumnae, reviewed all of the painful comments, situations and suggestions shared via social media and the virtual Alumnae Forum.

The Administration took each alumna’s testimonies seriously by researching and investigating all staff and administration accusations. Those conversations resulted in additional staff training, discussions regarding future employment and a teacher resignation. The school, Board of Trustees and Alumnae committed to work toward solutions by moving quickly, but intentionally, prior to school starting August 20.
  • June 3: Virtual Prayer Service to Unite Against Racial Injustice hosted by Mercy Campus Ministry
  • June 4: Virtual Student Round-table Discussion and Reflection: Processing the Current Incidents of Racial Injustice led by DEI Consultant and Administration
  • June 8: Creating A More Just Mercy Community Webinar led by DEI Consultant and Administration
  • June 10: Board of Trustees Racial Equity Task Force formed and Co-Chairs identified
  • June 11: Virtual Alumnae Forum hosted by Black Alumnae & Mercy Director of Alumnae Relations
  • June 15: Board of Trustees Special Meeting – Alumnae Forum issues and concerns reviewed
  • June 16: Administration follow-up discussion to June 4 Student Round-table with members of Class of 2020 and Class of 2021
  • June 19: Mercy Council on Racial Equity (CORE) Mission & Vision Statement announced and application released for CORE Steering Committee 
  • July 1: DEI Director Position posted through July 31
  • July 6: CORE application due date 
  • July 15: Board of Trustees Meeting – Racial Equity Governance Structure discussed and accepted
  • July 17: Calvin Terrell intake and assessment of Mercy High School regarding racism with Administration 
  • July 21: CORE Steering Committee Members announced
  • July 28: Board of Trustees Racial Equity Task Force meeting - Priorities: Mission; Communication & Accountability; Cultural Proficiency and Anti-Racism Policies
  • July 29: CORE kick-off planning meeting 
  • July 31: DEI Director selection process begins with 160+ applications reviewed
  • August 7–14: DEI Director 12 applicants interviewed by Students, Teachers, Alumnae, Board Members, CORE and Administration
  • August 14: Administration & CORE finalized Mercy Statement Against Racism
  • August 17: DEI Director accepted position 
  • August 20: Mercy Statement Against Racism presented and accepted by Board of Trustees Racial Equity Task Force
  • August 24: CORE Subcommittee Chairs assignment meeting 
  • August 31: Director of DEI Traci Smith reports to Mercy
  • September 9: All Mercy Staff DEI training with Calvin Terrell
  • October 14: Board of Trustees DEI training with Calvin Terrell and Board Retreat
  • October TBD: Mercy Education System of the Americas (MESA) virtual training on racism for select Board Members, Staff and Administrators 
  • February 22-23, 2021: MESA, Head of School, and Board President session on racism
  • March TBD 2021: MESA Stewardship Review of Mercy High School for select Board Members, Staff and Administrators with focus on racism
Board of Trustees Racial Equity Task Force Mission

The Board Racial Equity Task Force serves with Mercy High School Administration and CORE (Council on Racial Equity) to establish policies, practices and structures that create and foster an anti-racist and anti-biased learning environment for all students. We will welcome and engage community members in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns to recognize, address and eliminate racism while strengthening communication and inclusivity.
CORE Update

In July, Mercy's Council On Racial Equity was created to build awareness, solutions and leadership for anti-racist, anti-biased structures, policies and practices at Mercy High School. CORE will work with the Mercy High School and the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to identify systemic racism within the community, analyze the specific barriers to change, and dismantle the structures within the institution that perpetuate racism.

The Steering Committee is made up of Black and Indigenous People of Color Alumnae, Parents and a Mercy Ambassador. The Steering Committee has held two meetings with 100% member participation. Many alumnae and parents have asked how to get more involved with the CORE's work. The Subcommittee Chairs were assigned during the August meeting and are posted on the Mercy CORE web page. Additional information on how to be engaged in Subcommittee work will be announced in September/October. 

CORE collaborated with Mercy High School Administration and the Board of Trustees Racial Equity Task Force to create the following statement against racism. The Policy Subcommittee will continue to work with the Administration and Board of Trustees to build a more robust policy that creates a more just Mercy.
Mercy High School Statement Against Racism

Mercy High School supports the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, including our belief that racism is an evil affecting us all. We work to recognize and dismantle racism in order to become an anti-racist multicultural community. Mercy High School is committed to establishing and sustaining an equitable, fair, and just community that ensures student wellness, safety, and educational success regardless of their race, ethnicity, or zip code. Mercy High School rejects all forms of racism as destructive to their mission, vision, values, and goals. Racism will not be tolerated in the school campus, physical and online communities. Alleged violations of this policy will be investigated with due care and, if confirmed, may be met with serious consequences. Through the conduct of school staff and administrators, school policies, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, student support services, and parent/guardian involvement organizations, Mercy will cultivate a greater understanding of the concepts of diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, equity, implicit bias, xenophobia, white privilege, white supremacy, systemic racism, and anti-racism.