Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Villa Maria


Villa Maria Academy Diversity Statement

Villa Maria Academy is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community which  respects and promotes the integration of underrepresented groups into its community. Villa  Maria recognizes the many dimensions of diversity and the broad, complex, and dynamic nature  of human difference and similarity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential in an educational  environment, including preparing students for citizenship in a global society, the sharing of  cultural knowledge and wisdom, and promoting collective well-being. A policy of diversity, equity,  and inclusion will facilitate Villa Maria Academy’s mission as a Catholic and IHM Congregational school.

DEI Committees

Villa Maria formed its DEI Committee in the 2014 – 2015 school year with both students and faculty/staff. Today there are two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committees at Villa Maria — one that is student-led and one that is faculty/staff led.

Student DEI Committee

The Student DEI Committee is a student-led organization which strives to increase awareness of  issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to promote positive change both within and beyond the Villa Maria community. The Student DEI Committee organizes and facilitates DEI presentations and programs for the Villa Maria community throughout the school year. All students are welcome to participate.

Student DEI Leadership Team

The Student DEI Leadership Team consists of a small group of dedicated students who lead and facilitate DEI events, presentations and programs for the Villa Maria community.

Faculty/Staff DEI Committee

The faculty/staff DEI Committee meets monthly to discuss and make recommendations for DEI policies and programs which will enhance student learning and the student experience as well as the experience of the entire Villa Maria community.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Kara Bielli

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

U.S. Representative John Lewis

Ignatian Solidarity Network and the IFTJ Conference

Villa Maria is a member of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, and each year Villa students, faculty, and staff attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C., the largest Catholic social justice gathering in the United States. As part of that gathering, our students and faculty/staff participate in Advocacy Day where they meet with members of Congress and/or their staff to discuss pending legislation and issues of social justice.

Diversity Prayer

We praise You, God for the diversity that is all around us.  We rejoice in the complex beauty of your creation.  Help us to celebrate the wonderful blend of cultures and peoples in this world by actively seeking solidarity with one another.  Amen.

Faculty/Staff DEI Book Club Reading 2021-2022

Many faculty and staff members are reading Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, a New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection. The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

DEI Activities at Villa Maria