Announcing the TMI Equity Task Force
Letter to the community: July 27, 2020
Dear TMI Community,
We hope this note finds you healthy and in good spirits. We are writing today to share with you the announcement of a new Equity Task Force here at TMI.
Almost two months ago, in early June, Fr. Scott initiated a series of impromptu conversations that led to the formation of this task force. Last week, we had the opportunity to introduce the Equity Task Force to the faculty and staff of TMI at a virtual town hall meeting. Today, we are pleased to share our purpose and extend an open invitation to anyone in the community who would like to work with us as we make equity a deliberate focus at TMI.
Our statement of purpose is included below. If you are interested in working with us in some capacity, please contact Paul Kim, Courtney Duke, or Luis Murillo.
We look forward to working with you.
Paul, Courtney, Luis
Equity Task Force Interim Chair
English Department Chair
Luis Murillo, Ph.D.
TMI Episcopal Equity Task Force 2020-2021 Statement of Purpose
During its 127-year journey as a school, TMI Episcopal has sought to serve its students by helping them develop their full potential under the wide umbrella offered by the Episcopal Church. At different times in history, this has meant that TMI Episcopal has had to refocus its efforts to provide students with a relevant education.
This year, we will begin a deliberate, purposeful process to ensure that the education our students experience is focused on current contexts of the values that have long guided us as a school. Knowing this will be a complex, ongoing process, we have established an equity task force to help TMI Episcopal engage in practices that help us develop systems and structures for equity and belonging. The task force will initially be a team of three – Dr. Luis Murillo, Courtney Duke, and interim chair Paul Kim – with students, staff, and other faculty joining in the near future. It will inform and report to the Dean of Community and Wellness and the Deans of Students.
The focus on equity is based on a belief that imbalances in power need to be corrected in order for diversity and inclusivity to become norms. Today, it is clear that the work we do in schools must be emergent and adaptive if it is going to be meaningful and avoid siloed change. With this in mind, the task force will take a systems approach in its efforts, which will include, but not be limited to:
- facilitated open forums about equity, diversity, and inclusivity at TMI Episcopal
- gatherings and events, including student and faculty affinity groups, to build community
- strategic planning proposals for admission and hiring processes
- workshops about redesigning pedagogy and curriculum to account for bias and cultural relevance
- opportunities to engage with the diverse cultural history of San Antonio and the surrounding region
In 2022, the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference & Student Diversity Leadership Conference will be hosted in San Antonio. We hope to be a strong presence at these conferences. Between now and then, the TMI Episcopal Equity Task Force welcomes input as a part of safe, open dialogue. We will communicate regularly with students, families, faculty, and alumni about our work, what we learn, and our plans moving forward.
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As the newest member of the TMI Humanities department, Paul Kim is serving as the Interim Chair of the Equity Task Force and looks forward to bringing his expertise to the TMI community. A short description of his experience working on similar task forces and projects is below:
About Paul Kim: Borrowing from the National Equity Project, Paul believes: “Any system produces what it was designed to produce.” Because of this, he works to design learning experiences that help young people live with more agency and equity-minded focus. In 2009, Paul co-chaired the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference and he has presented at the conference on several occasions in addition to serving on the NAIS think tank on diversity, Call to Action. As an organizer, Paul helped to build the Colorado Independent Schools Inclusivity Network. As a facilitator, he developed The Learning Workshop, a professional development opportunity for public and independent school teachers interested in design thinking, creativity, and equity. Finally, as a teacher, Paul wrote curriculum for the documentary film I’m Not Racist, Am I? and he has taught courses titled Race, History, and Culture in America and Cultural Diversity in the United States. Paul is currently growing his teaching practice by studying liberatory design, an equity-focused adaptation of design thinking.
Letter from the Board of Governors
Letter to the community: July 27, 2020
Dear Members of the TMI Episcopal Family,
We are writing to you on behalf of the TMI Board of Governors to express our full support of the Equity Task Force and living into this year’s theme. Since early June, our nation has had to re-awaken to the unfinished work of racial justice and equity. The increased awareness of violence and injustice against persons of color has revealed again the deep wound of institutional racism and inequity that persists within our communities.
As an Episcopal school founded upon “values based on the teachings of Jesus Christ,” TMI regularly challenges our students “to develop their full potential in service and leadership.” We are proud of this heritage of forming servant leaders and believe that our mission calls us to lead and serve in the larger community by promoting and practicing Christ-like values of compassion, reconciliation and justice. TMI’s theme for the 2020-2021 school year is “Love your neighbor,” which we wholeheartedly support and commend to you.
“Love your neighbor” is easy to say, but as we all know, it can be difficult to live. “Love your neighbor” is one of Jesus’ greatest commandments, and is the bedrock of Judeo-Christian teaching and practice (Luke 10:25-28). We learn about the Love of God for all persons from the first book of Scripture, when humanity is created in God’s own image in Genesis, to the last book of Scripture, where God heals every person and wipes away their tears in Revelation. And because all persons bear God’s image and are beloved by God, then each person is worthy of respect and dignity and love.
TMI has long sought to build a diverse community of students, faculty, staff and families based upon love and respect for others. TMI has been blessed and made stronger by students from across San Antonio, from all around Texas, and across the globe. We have worked to create an environment where all can learn to be compassionate neighbors and caring friends, celebrating a unity forged of diverse people and talents.
But, we also must acknowledge that we have not fully reached this noble goal. We have fallen short, and we can do better in addressing not only race and culture, but also gender and sexuality. We believe our students, faculty, staff, alumni and families have much to contribute to the hard work of social reconciliation and racial equity. We believe TMI can be a positive contributor to the healing of our beloved country, that we can uphold and celebrate the ideals of our nation, and we can work together to address the racial injustices and social inequities that afflict us.
In light of this opportunity to re-engage the struggle for justice and equity for all in our society, and fully committed to the love of neighbor in our school, we pledge our full support to our Head of School, administration, and faculty. We further pledge to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and other schools and organizations to promote the building of a more just society, as TMI continues to raise up students to lead and to serve.
We invite you, the TMI family, to join us as we work together to not only talk about, but also practice love of neighbor, both personally and institutionally. Help us become an inclusive community that truly loves our neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, sexual orientation, or faith practice.
During this school year, students, parents, and alumni will have opportunities to listen to each other’s struggles, discuss possible solutions, and act to promote the values taught by Jesus Christ, both within and beyond the school community.
We hope you are well and staying safe during this challenging summer, and we look forward to being on campus again where we can live into this year’s theme together.
May we grow in love for our neighbors,
Mrs. Carol Holmes
Board of Governors
The Rt. Rev. David Reed
Bishop of the Diocese of West Texas
Chair, Board of Governors