Creating Your School’s Examen
The resources below are designed to help leaders guide their communities through the Anti-Racism Examen. There are three parts to these resources, which can be adapted and combined to meet your group’s needs.
Part I: A Composition of Place (Video)
The Composition of Place helps participants gather their bearings and transition into the Examen. Think of it as looking both around and inside for landmarks. What is the racial reality right now on our campus and in ourselves? Taking time to be aware of these issues helps us to cross the threshold from our everyday work to the sacred space of reflection and dialogue. The video is narrated by colleagues and students across the Jesuit higher education network.
Please note that members of our college and university communities experience the wrenching realities of racism in varying ways. The Composition of Place video may evoke strong feelings: participants should feel comfortable choosing to watch all or part of it, as they choose.
Part II: A Guided Examen
The heart of the experience is the guided Examen, which is conducted in a plenary session. It may be adapted for various lengths. Leaders may also choose to extend the Examen across more than one meeting, or to use it as a monthly or quarterly opportunity for conversation.
The selection of readings, prompting questions and audiovisual links can be shaped to best meet the group’s needs. For example, the leader may wish to add a story on the school’s history of inclusion/exclusion, or a few statistics on the effects of racism in the local community. Quotes from college/university community members or alumni/ae might be shared. Student essays, music or visual art may have a place in the Examen, as well. The point is not to overwhelm participants with content, much of which they can pursue after the Examen is concluded. Rather, it is to provide an environment for frank conversation and to encourage a commitment, through one’s role in the college/university, to do the urgent work of anti-racism.
Part III: Resources for ongoing discussion and discernment
Ideally, participants will complete the Anti-Racism Examen with a desire to learn more and to translate their hopes into concrete action. In order to support this outcome, AJCU has developed two online repositories:
- AJCU Racial Justice Resource Page: Programs and initiatives that are already in place on individual AJCU campuses, along with a calendar featuring upcoming events for Black History Month.
- Ideas for an Anti-Racist Future: Ideas and recommendations from colleagues throughout the network at AJCU institutions.
This collection of resources is wholly reliant on the contributions of colleagues, and is by no means exhaustive. It is not an institutional checklist, but is intended to spark creativity among Examen participants. Some leaders may wish to incorporate a discussion of ideas from the collection into the Examen and others may not, or may do so at a later date.
Links (click on titles to download PDF files)
See a more extensive list of prayers and articles on the AJCU RACIAL JUSTICE RESOURCE PAGE.
- Leader’s Guide (includes a script for conducting the Examen)
- Readings for Participants in the Examen
Supplemental Musical Resources for the Examen (links are to YouTube and SoundCloud recordings; most titles also available through streaming services)
- JesCom Instrumental Music
- Lift Every Voice and Sing (Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson) – Saint Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church
- Relax African Music (Jabali Spirit)
- Going Home (Dvořák) – Yo Yo Ma (and related #SongsofComfort)
- The Assumptions of White Privilege and What We Can Do About It (Massingale)
- Catholic 101: Church Teaching and the Anti-Racism Movement (Kellerman)
- Jesuit Institutions Must Do More to Undo Racism (Mikulich)
- A Redemptive Call to the Altar: Anti-Black Racism in Jesuit Higher Education (Wardell-Ghirarduzzi)
More on the Ignatian Examen
- Rummaging for God: Praying Backward through Your Day (Hamm)
- The Daily Examen (IgnatianSpirituality.com)
- The Ignatian Examen (Jesuits.org)
- Acoustic guitar background music (1)
- Acoustic guitar background music (2)
- African Relaxing Music (Tuko Pamoja)
- A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
- Gabriel’s Oboe (Ennio Morricone) – Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt
- I Just Want to Live (Keedron Bryant)
- Jazz background music
Prayer and Reflection
- Seven Powerful Poems about Injustice and Racial Discrimination (Singh, ed.)
- A Prayer for My White Colleagues in Education (Signorino)
- Prayers for Racial Justice and Reconciliation (JesuitResource.org)
- Ghosts of Segregation Traveling Exhibit (Photographs by Rick Frishman)
- Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Book by Rev. Bryan Massingale)
- Healing the Soul of a Nation: The Challenge of Racial Justice (Video Address by Rev. Bryan Massingale)
- The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Book by Marcus Mescher)