Idaho Dispatch

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St. Al’s Document Asks Employees to Read “White Fragility” and Participate in 21-Day “Connecting Together” Challenge

By • July 16, 2020

An employee of Saint Al’s healthcare system has leaked a document to the public that details a challenge to employees.

The challenge began on July 6th and is running for 21 days.

According to the document we obtained, it says,

As we conclude the Diversity and Inclusion Uniting Together webinar series, we invite you to participate in an exciting experience to deepen our work in this area further.

The document then lists 21 ways Saint Alphonsus says employees can learn about racism and inclusivity in America. 

Who sent out the document to Saint Al’s employees? President and CEO Odette Bolano is listed as one of the individuals. The other is Regional Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Gayla Thomas-Dabney.

So, what are some of the ways in which Saint Als wants to challenge its employees?

One suggestion that may cause some controversy is a recommendation on Day 1 to pick “White Fragility” as a book to read. The author of the book is Robin DiAngelo.

A number of conservative commentators, primarily Ben Shapiro, have blasted the book as false and full of errors. Shapiro recently released a video detailing seven ways that he believes the book is “awful” and false. Shapiro also claims that a number of liberals have spoken out against the book as well.

You can watch his rebuttal to the book in the video below.

Supporters of the book say it is a good way for white people to understand the real race issues in America. They also argue that the book helps white people understand how they are playing a part in racism in America.

The document also asks employees to watch a movie on Netflix or other platforms under the “Black Lives Matter series.” In recent weeks, many online platforms like Amazon have set aside special categories for viewers that contain movies specific to “black history” or “black lives matter.”

On Day 12 for instance, the document challenges employees to watch “The Hate You Give” on Netflix. The movie is a fictional story that depicts an unarmed black teenager being shot and killed by police and the subsequent efforts by a young black girl to bring justice to the police officer who killed him.

In addition to that challenge, employees are asked to reach out to someone of a different race, visit a museum such as an African-American museum, listen to a podcast about inclusiveness, read a book called “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation’s Divide,” and to take note of different ethnicities and races in your neighborhood.

Several employees of Saint Alphonsus, including one who leaked the document, sent us quotes about the challenge.

One employee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution told Idaho Dispatch,

While I support the sentiment of black lives matter, the founders of the organization Black Lives Matter are on record as being trained Marxists. Having the organization being pushed by a health system this large is worrisome in regards to the agenda of both St Alphonsus health and the Marxist organization of BLM. The similarities to the Student revolution that lead to Maoist China are alarming. More alarming is the complacence of conservatives and the push from leftist media outlasts, companies, and organizations like BLM and ANTIFA.

To many colleagues, it feels like Trinity Health and St Alphonsus are announcing to us that we can and will be terminated for anything that isn’t in lockstep with their ideology or agenda. We aren’t being shouted down, we are simply being threatened with loss of the livelihood that provides for our families in jobs we have dedicated many years and significant money to be qualified for. Im not interested in reading ‘White Fragility’ a book that is racist towards white people, nor am I interested in watching BLM videos in my home and I’m not ok with Saint Alphonsus pushing that agenda on dedicated colleagues who give exceptional care regardless of race. As an organization, we are better than this!

Another employee, who also wished to speak on condition of anonymity, said this about the 21-day challenge,

Before this, we were starting to implement and had much emphasis on cultural diversity prior to the current challenge that is bringing/creating more biases between race, religion, culture, as well as many other biases.

I feel as a healthcare system we should be neutral and not engage one side or the other. If we start down that path it will lead us to place we shouldn’t be. We need to be respectful to each and every individual without devaluing the individual. Every individual’s life matters and should be as they are part of making up our community and we need to work together not against.

We also reached out to Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation to get his reaction to the document. Hoffman and his organization have been outspoken critics of Boise State’s inclusivity programs.

Here is Mr. Hoffman’s response to the 21-Day challenge by Saint Als,

It would be really nice if St. Al’s spent its time (and its taxpayer-supported resources) focused on reducing medical costs and increasing access to patient care instead of projecting the false narrative that Idahoans are bigots.

Hoffman also criticized the recommendation of the “White Fragility” book and told Idaho Dispatch,

Yet another local institution teaching the gospel of intolerance. It’s the same book that BSU commanded staff to read as part of their “diversity” training.

We reached out and spoke with a Saint Alphonsus media relations individual who told us that the challenge is real and that it was voluntary. She also informed us that she would forward our request for an official statement to someone higher up in the company.

As of this writing, we do not have an official response back from Saint Alphonsus but will update the article with their statement when one is given to us.

It is unclear how many of Saint Al’s employees are going to be taking the challenge or how many employees feel the same way about the challenge as the two employees we spoke to did.

Below you can see the full text of the document and the challenges issued for the employees for all 21 days.


Tags: 21-Day Challenge, Black Lives Matter, Saint Alphonsus