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Words Matter

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“Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.” - Michael Eric Dyson

Words Matter Youth Summit

Since 2017, the OEI has engaged students using the following guiding principles: 1) deep reflection on our spiritual heritage as Ignatian Educators; 2) our call as social justice leaders to bring about a change in the ways we engage in the world, and 3) reimagining the intersection between service and justice.

Given our national reality and the conversations that our students and community were having at the time, our adult leadership team determined that we needed to create a safe space for the conversation on identity. As a result, the Words Matter Youth Summit was born out of a response to that need, focusing on micro-aggressions and the power of single words.

A Year Long Meditation

This year, the Loyola OEI, in collaboration with the Center for Service and Justice presents: My Soul Runs Deep Like the Rivers—a year-long meditation on Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. This season of Words Matter will discuss how The Harlem Renaissance was more than an artistic movement. One hundred years ago it established Black excellence in the face of pain and hatred. This Black excellence manifested through athletics, economics, philosophy, politics, religion, science as well as music, visual art, and literature. Since the pandemic, we have pivoted to Zoom, but were wonderfully able to learn a new guiding technique, “The RICE-breaker.” Dr. Amber Spry, the creator of the RICE-breaker, lead us through the process which involves deep listening. Our OEI student leaders from the OEI Senate and NUNC helped organize and MC the event.

Through stories, we have had analyzed the reality of intention versus impact—how many of these same, singular narratives impact our perceptions and understanding of others; and as a result, sometimes perpetuate a sense of belongingness or exclusion to those various settings and groups.


To this end, Words Matter collaborates with students from other schools using the power of stories to find connections.


We believe the way words are interwoven in narrative form can serve as the foundation for authentic relationships.


Any and all Words Matter Summits, we endeavor to go beyond the single-story, to engage in dialogue, storytelling, and deep listening.

Prophetic Action.

This framework has become a tool of dismantling dominant narratives creating transformational change in our communities beyond our school walls.


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