St. Mary's University Researcher Helps School District Combat Systemic Racism

By St. Mary's University Modified on January 25, 2021

Lance Dixon of St. Mary's is helping make Calgary a more fair and equitable place for all.

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Lance Dixon of St. Mary's is helping make Calgary a more fair and equitable place for all.

An expert from St. Mary's University is helping out the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) to address systemic racism in its jurisdiction. Lance Dixon, a biracial man with a background in social justice, leads the program. Dixon will work with CCSD teachers and administrators to open up discussions about race and inequality, with the goal of improving equity for staff and students alike.

Glenn Singleton's book, Courageous Conversations About Race, is a focus point for discussion, and offers a framework for understanding racial issues in the contemporary public sphere.

Racial justice training

CCSD is implementing a new racial justice framework with the help of Dixon and St. Mary's University, which starts with mandatory training for principals and teachers. Making time available explicitly for understanding racial justice issues is critical for getting buy-in from the educators and administrators undergoing training.

Dixon, of St. Mary's University, notes that while conversations like these will help, they're only just a starting point. The school district will need to develop protocols to support students and staff during instances of racial injustice. Still, having an open forum for discussions around system racism make this important work possible.

A brighter future for all

The Calgary Catholic School District implemented its racial justice committee after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last year. Each of its 180 schools has a representative on the committee, which meets regularly. With the help of St. Mary's University's Lance Dixon, the district will continue taking steps to make Calgary a more fair and just place for everyone.


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