AAAA President’s Corner
The Catholic Church has made history and proven itself to be a true inspiration when it comes to diversity and inclusion by starting at the very top. The election of Pope Francis, the CEO of the 1.2 billion members Catholic Church, demonstrates this without a doubt in anyone’s mind.
Pope Francis is a great pastoral man of Latin American descent – Argentinian. He worked with the poor, single mothers and the disenfranchised. Pope Francis is someone known for breaking with tradition and bonding with people; living a humble life and riding the bus every day to connect with people. He is inclusive in the real sense of the word. As one priest put it, “the Catholic Church struck gold with Pope Francis. Amen to that!
Pope Francis’ focus is poverty, prayer, and closeness to people in order to touch them where they are to influence their life. Just imagine, Pope Francis washing the feet of a mixed group of male and female inmates letting them know he is at their service. Also just imagine what it would be like if our American Institutions grabbed a hold of this philosophy of fairness, inclusion, and lifting people up no matter what their circumstances, opposed to treating certain people with dignity and respect and discarding those that need help the most. As Louie Armstrong once sang, “What a Wonderful World This Would Be.” This is the world that the American Association for Affirmative Action embraces and dedicates itself to.
Religious institutions including the Catholic Church have a way to go regarding the inclusion of women as leaders and other controversial issues. The selection of Pope Francis is, however, a symbol that positive change is possible, even for two thousand year-old institutions.