Dear Students and Colleagues,
The world is awaiting the decision of the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd last May. In waiting, we recognize that the pain and the violence we are observing in our streets and the human suffering that is being broadcast to the world over and over again since the events of last summer demands a response from all people who care about human dignity.
Here at JCU, we feel the pain of the people of Minneapolis. We, too, have seen such events unfold in our own city and region. We recognize the weight of expectation and worry that surrounds this trial, and we recognize the ways that this weight represents a burden for our own students, faculty and staff in this moment. Furthermore, we recognize the interconnectedness of all our human family, and we recognize, as Dr. King once said, that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
In this moment, our Jesuit Catholic mission calls us to stand in solidarity with all who experience injustice and inhumanity.
Our mission calls us to stand for peace, freedom, and dignity for all people.
Our mission calls us to listen with compassion to others and to seek understanding across our differences, whatever those may be.
We are called to stand for equality and justice.
When this trial is over, when this news cycle has passed, this will still be our mission and these will still be our values.
In these coming days, we offer the following opportunities for our community to respond to the events unfolding in the news:
Prayer Vigil for Healing
The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, regardless of the outcome, will carry a great deal of emotional weight for many of us. Tomorrow evening, Campus Ministry will host a prayer vigil to provide a space for our community to mourn all violence, to seek healing, and to pray for a peace that rests on justice. There will be an opportunity for participants to share a prayer, poem or reflection as you wish.
Date: Wednesday, April 21
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Lombardo Student Center Atrium
Masks and social distancing will be enforced.
Community Support Spaces
The DEI division will provide spaces for students and employees to support one another and to be together in community.
For Undergraduate and Graduate Students - The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion will host a drop-in and in-person support space for students on Wednesday, April 21 from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM in the CSDI Lounge, located next to the Jardine Room in the DJ Lombardo Student Center. This is a space to process the outcome of the verdict. Light refreshments will be available and masks/social distancing will be enforced.
For Employees - On Wednesday, April 21, a Zoom coffee gathering will be held at 9 am. Register here to receive the link. An open space will also be provided tomorrow for staff and faculty in the Faculty Lounge to gather from 3-4 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. Masks and social distancing will be enforced.
We also encourage our students, faculty and staff to access the resources and tips available on our Community and Self-Care Resource Guide.
In closing, we urge each member of our community to find ways to live our values more fully in the world and within our community. Embrace empathy over understanding, and peace over discontent. Recognize that many within our community may experience the verdict differently, along with the ongoing news of violence, loss, and injustices that pervades our news today. So above all, let’s remember to remain open, give space for reflection and healing, and look for opportunities to move forward as a community, both among JCU as well as the greater world.
There is much to be done, and we must each commit to doing it if we are to overcome the legacies of injustice that we have inherited.
Tiffany Galvin Green, Ph.D.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Edward J. Peck, Ph.D.
Vice President for University Mission and Identity
Sherri A. Crahen, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
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