Thursday September 22, 2016

A Time to Come Together

By Eric Spina

In the wake of ongoing violence in our country, President Eric Spina asks members of the campus community to reach out to one another in prayer and support.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are profoundly saddened by the ongoing violence in our country, from acts of terrorism to the shootings of unarmed African American males to acts of retaliation.

Some of our brothers and sisters in the campus community, particularly African Americans, Muslims and first responders, may feel especially hurt, vulnerable and alone.

It’s central to our mission as a Catholic, Marianist university that we reach out to one another in support and prayer — and acknowledge the pain and uncertainty of our times. This is the moment to listen to each other, say a kind word, engage in respectful dialogue and offer support.

It’s a time, I believe, for solidarity — and a time to remind ourselves of our shared commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation. This especially includes a commitment to eliminate any discriminatory words or actions in our midst.

Our campus ministers, counselors and staff members in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Center for International Programs are always available to meet with anyone who would like support. I hope you will also take the opportunity to participate in a number of events on campus that are designed to raise awareness and build bridges of understanding.

We are hosting a monthly prayer service, Prayers of the HEART, for bringing healing, empathy, awareness, reconciliation and transformation on our campus, the city, nation and the world. Please join us at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, for the next Prayers of the HEART gathering around the peace pole between the chapel and St. Mary’s Hall.

Students in our Creating Inclusive Communities initiative have organized a conference, “Crossroads and Intersecting Identities,” on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Jesse Philips Humanities Center. Please consider attending the workshops, which will spark dialogue around the issues of diversity, cultural competence and multiculturalism.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Public Safety are co-sponsoring a series of programs this academic year to increase dialogue and engagement between multicultural students and our campus police.

Let’s reach across our differences in our ongoing mission to build community on our campus and in our world. I have faith, with God’s help, in our ability to do that.

In solidarity and peace,

Eric F. Spina

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