Executive Summary – October 2019

Last year the STA Parish Council designated 2019-2020 as a time for our parish to examine race relations, to see what the parish should be doing to improve racial equity in our community and in our world.  As part of that effort, copies of a 15-question survey were distributed at Masses to adults and high school students and also offered online. The results will help to establish a baseline sense of parish-wide awareness of racial bias and solicit ideas for expanding racial justice. The survey will be repeated later this year to gauge the effects of programs, prayers and activities presented throughout this period.

Key findings include:

Racism in general

  • There was widespread acknowledgement that people of color are treated with implicit bias and are affected by institutional racism. (85% of participants said it happens often.)
  • About half of the participants said White Fragility often hinders dialogue between races, while 13 percent were unaware of that term.
  • Two-thirds stated that our society sometimes has made adequate amends for racial inequity, while about 30 percent said adequate amends have never been made.
  • STA’s past anti-racism work is known at least somewhat by participants as less than 10 percent stated they were unaware of those efforts.

Personal Experience

  • A majority of participants (60%) stated they have courageous conversations with people from a different culture. (15% said they never do.)
  • More than a third of participants stated they had witnessed or experienced racial inequity in the past year.
  • A similar number said they sometimes would feel confident enough to challenge cultural intolerance, if witnessed.
  • More than two-thirds said they need to “strengthen my intercultural development” by double – the highest choice given.

Suggested Action

  1. Provide help with speaking about race
  2. Continue to host diversity dinners, lectures, panels and workshops on racial equity
  3. Increase opportunities for those who’ve experienced racism to share their stories with the parish
  4. Promote having interracial meals in others’ homes as is done with Lenten suppers
  5. Increase racial diversity in ministries
  6. Offer information to parishioners about local resources for raising personal awareness of racial bias