Dismantling Racism

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Our Commitment

We the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, are called by God to live and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a church and world suffering from the sin of racism.

As an anti-racist institution we are accountable to people of color in mutual relationships based on respect, equality and Justice.

Together we examine and redefine all aspects of our life, mission and ministry to incorporate and witness anti-racism.

We commit, as a publicly identified anti-racist congregation, to work toward an inclusive and anti-racist church and world.

woman speaking at meeting“Racism is not the same thing as race prejudice,” says Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, co-chair of the Springfield Dominican Antiracism Team (SDART). “Racism is a combination of the abuse of institutional power and race prejudice, so that, even if someone has worked to rid herself of personal prejudice against people of certain ethnic groups, she is still caught in the web of racism, which is supported by institutional structures that are designed to privilege the group with social power and disenfranchise those without it.”

Institutional systems that keep racism in place in the United States are deeply rooted in United States history. Actively working to dismantle them is a life-long commitment rooted in Jesus’ teachings of inclusivity and right relationship. Learn how you can participate!

black man in yellow shirt talkingWe knew from the moment we began the journey toward dismantling racism that we couldn’t proceed without the company of woman and men who are people of color. Our antiracism team includes about twenty Springfield Dominican Sisters, and about twenty partners who labor beside us in this sacred and challengin work. Any success we have we owe to their faithfulness and commitment. Watch this brief video to hear from some of our partners.

woman speaking to group“The work undertaken by the Dominican Sisters and other groups could have a profound effect on Springfield and the state at large. Although the work is only beginning, the trust being created between African-American leaders and this city’s institutions is a welcome change that paves the way for meaningful reforms toward equality.

“Sometimes when I read the news or watch YouTube or Congress, I can feel hopeless or defeated,” she said. “But then I go to Springfield and see all the work happening in Illinois, I really feel like I’ve helped the world change a little bit today. Maybe I’ve helped save some lives and helped save someone’s dignity. It’s really gratifying.”

Robette Dias
Executive director, Crossroads Antiracism Organizing

Excerpted from Rooting out systemic racism, Illinois Times, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Read the article.

Our local partner, Springfield Coalition on Distmantling Racism, offers regular training sessions to help churches, organizations, and municipalities learn about and work to heal racism. They are a regional partner with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing. Contact SCoDR to get involved in central Illinois or Crossroads to  learn about how to dismantle racism wherever you are in the United States.

Antiracism Resources:

These resources were talked about at the February meeting of SDART. Check back for periodic updates.


White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Robin DiAngelo. Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The epic story of America’s Great Migration. Isabel Wilkerson.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Isabel Wilkerson.


Cost of Racism: U.S. Economy Lost $16 Trillion Because Of Discrimination, Bank Says (NPR)

Interview with Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. (NPR)

It's More Than Racism: Isabel Wilkerson Explains America's 'Caste' System. Fresh Air interview with the author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. (NPR)


Cost Of Racism: U.S. Economy Lost $16 Trillion Because Of Discrimination, Bank Says

Websites for teachers and other curious people

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History,

Learning for Justice Teaching Hard History: American Slavery.

Reflection, Inquiry, Self-awareness, and Empathy: Strategies to Integrate Racial Equity in Teaching. DePaul University.





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