To be actively and explicitly anti-racist

San Jose CORE Collaboration (Collaborative Organizing for Racial Equity) - Jesuits West Province
[From “Jesuits 2022 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]

The experience of three very different schools in Northern California, all fighting against racism.

“Anti-racist work has been of most importance at Cristo Rey San Jose. Doing this type of work allows us to have real and serious conversations with each other, educate ourselves, and find possible solutions and/or offer support to families within our community.” - America Banderas, 11th grader

While San Jose has eight Jesuit works, we have traditionally operated in isolation despite proximity, serving overlapping populations, and sharing the same mission. In 2020, after joining to discern how to meaningfully live out the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) based on the needs of our communities, we understood that to walk with the excluded meant to be actively and explicitly anti-racist. Born of this discernment was CORE, Jesuits West Collaborative Organizing for Racial Equity, a toolkit and anti-racist framework used in Jesuit institutions from Alaska to Arizona. In San Jose, we have utilized this strengthened partnership to share resources, build relationships with local community organizations, and plan events aimed at educating our communities on anti-racism. In the CORE collaborative, we long for the conversion of hearts and minds to demands of love and justice; we acknowledge the work of truth and reconciliation within our own Jesuit ministries; and ultimately, we hope to carry out our apostolic calling to build beloved communities of mutual belonging and universal kinship.


Jesuits West CORE anti-racist work has come to fruition at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School (CRSJ), a college preparatory school for historically underserved, majority Latino, families. Emely and America, two of our Ignite Fellows, intern in the Campus Ministry office as community organizers. They, with the Impact Social Justice Club, organized events to educate peers on systemic racism and taking action, including a training on how to have conversations calling out anti-Blackness in their own families and communities. Emely and America partnered with the local organization People Acting in Community Together (PACT), and were trained in engaging in 1:1 meetings and relational trainings, both designed to build kinship and network for racial justice. In turn, they have helped to train other high schoolers on how to hold such important meetings. Nine CRSJ students partnered with Bellarmine Prep students to host anti-racist voter education nights in English and Spanish, to help Californians understand ballot propositions, and to address how systemic racism manifests itself in many policies. All 115 CRSJ juniors participated in a retreat using the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice sessions to learn about environmental injustice, immigration policy, and anti-racism, as well as taking action to promote the dignity of life through kinship, policy, and digital activism.

Bellarmine College Prep, founded in 1851, has traditionally served middle-upper class families. Despite achieving greater student representation in recent times (currently 52% People of Color (POC), 48% White), systemic challenges remain to achieve true equity and inclusion. This year, its faculty participated in reflection days focused on addressing issues of race, identity, and inclusion after reading challenging testimonies of POC students and faculty. These conversations centered in the question: “How are we called to collectively foster genuine, respectful, inclusive, and authentic interactions among each other to create a unified, loving community that is free from bias and prejudice?” Furthermore, Bellarmine’s Unity Council, composed of students from various cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds, is organizing a student-led Racial Justice Teach-In to share their personal stories about race, engage in dialogue, explore equity and inclusion, and empower its community to act, impacting Bellarmine’s community and beyond.


Sacred Heart Nativity Schools (SHNS) serves historically marginalized, immigrant, and low-income families. All 82 middle school students identify as Latino and Black. SHNS teaches an anti-racist curriculum, woven throughout various subjects, to give learners the tools and vocabulary to critique racist structures and disrupt systems of oppression. Specifically, eighth graders delve into meanings of race, culture, and identity in a class created for them to explore their most authentic selves before attending high school.

Although most work happens internally, our Jesuit institutions partner with and for each other in an effort to create lasting change. Amanda and Kelly partnered to create Ignite, a four-day conference for high school students to learn community organizing skills rooted in identity, power, and anti-racism to take skills back to their schools and communities. After Ignite, students from across the Province decided to implement CORE through the voter education initiatives mentioned above. Moreover, students are preparing to meet with California senators to promote just immigration and housing advocacy. Additionally, Carlos and Amanda partnered with the Ignatian Solidarity Network, hosts of the Ignatian Family Teach-In, one of the largest Catholic social justice gatherings in the U.S., to hold workshops about diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism (DEIA). Carlos and Amanda presented How to Build a Culturally Responsive Catholic Schools; hosted a panel of DEI practitioners to discuss the graces and desolations of this ministry; and ran Norm Setting for Culturally Responsive Conversations. Furthermore, Amanda hosted a nationwide workshop centered on creating brave spaces for dialogue following the attacks on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

We are committed to continue this collaboration among San Jose Jesuit partner institutions in the work for anti-racism. Our goal remains to form youth and adults to follow Christ’s call to love one another and seek justice in society.

Share this Post:
Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

Related Posts: