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Creating A Culture of Belonging

O’Dowd’s Charism (spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit) calls us to Community in Diversity. We are called to recognize the inherent dignity of all humans, to be attuned to the real world experience of difference, and the shared experience of being human. We strive always to treat each other as Jesus would - righteously, with love and compassion.

O’Dowd’s student body represents a rich diversity of races, ethnicities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, traditions, cultures, learning styles, family compositions, and geographies. These unique and multilayered student identities create opportunities for us to learn from each other, broaden our perspectives, respect differences, and ultimately become more aware and empathic global citizens. As a Catholic community, we see all students as children of God and promote equity so that all students may thrive. As St. Irenaeus proclaims, "The glory of God is the person fully alive!"

Key Areas of Focus
students in assembly
Community Engagement

Building a community that is self-aware, culturally competent, and socio-emotionally sensitive.

teacher at whiteboard
Recruitment, Hiring & Retention

Sustaining a racially & ethnically diverse faculty and staff that mirrors the diversity of the O'Dowd student community.

teacher helping student
Curriculum & Pedagogy

Intentionally creating an academic program that is culturally responsive and anti-racist, rooted

in our mission and Charism.

Equitable, Restorative & Accountable Discipline

Integrating restorative practices into O’Dowd’s disciplinary procedures to ensure that accountability is equitable and Charism aligned.

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Student & Staff Affinity Groups


Our Affinity Groups offer a space for students and staff to build community and connections with others who share their racial identity. In Affinity Groups, members gain fellowship, share experiences, and develop skills around race and cross-racial dialogue. 


Students of Color


Racial Affinity Groups


Cultural Identity Clubs


Faculty of Color


Regional Partner Schools


Family Zip Codes

Building A Culture of Belonging: Commitment to Professional Growth

All faculty and staff, from teachers, counselors and athletic coaches, to campus ministry and administrators, participate in ongoing professional learning to promote belonging and inclusion on campus, equipping all students for success. From workshops, conferences, expert lectures and more, our faculty and staff gain best-practices to teach, coach, and guide students in culturally responsive and relevant ways. 

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Community Resources​

These recommended resources for students and families focus on equity and belonging.



  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Anti-Racist

  • Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Race, Anti-Racism & You

  • Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning


Videos, Podcasts, Articles & Websites:

Community in Diversity Task Force
Community in Diversity Task Force


In fulfillment of our mission and Charism, the Community in Diversity Task Force represents myriad leaders and community stakeholders, including staff, faculty, alumni, parents and subject matter experts. Together they work to expand the depth and breadth of our commitment to equity and belonging, helping to engage more people, hear more voices, and leverage the incredible talent we have in our community. The Community in Diversity Task Force will inform our goals and objectives for the next phase of equity and belonging work at O’Dowd.

Fr. Leo Edgerly, Chair

Vice President for Catholic Mission


Kerwin Allen, P.E.
Board of Regents Chair
Regional Manager Kennedy Jenks

Francine Anthony

Vice Chair, Board of Regents

Current Parent


Allyson Criner Brown ’02 

Office of Racial Equity, Government of the District of Columbia

Advisor to Task Force


Felicia Wanzo Bryant '94

Fire Marshal, Oakland Fire Department

Current Parent 


Nam Do

Current Parent 


Lillian Fong 

Parent of Alumni


Tracey Broadhead Frith ’85

Parent of Alumni

Arthur Guimaraes

Current Parent

Board of Regents Member

Anthony Green

Social Studies/ AP African American Studies Teacher

Parent of Alumni


Alan MacIntosh

Chair, Mission and Charism Committee, Board of Regents

Parent of Alumni


Samantha Mercado

Counseling Department


Ray Lehner

Social Studies Teacher

Football and Rugby Coach

Current Parent

Advisors to Task Force


Kim Walsh, ex officio 



Doug Evans, ex officio



Jeannette DeLaGarza

Project Manager

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