Dear Marquette community,
In the wake of George Floyd’s death last spring, Pope Francis decried the sin of racism, saying Catholics “cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
No exercise of justice can undo the hurt that Black Americans have endured and feel every day, nor can it bring back the light to George Floyd’s eyes or his family’s hearts.
What today’s decision can do is give us hope, as it sends a clear message that the sacredness of human life does, indeed, apply to all. It can give us hope that a more just world is possible when we value the dignity and worth of all our fellow human beings.
As an engaged community guided by our Catholic, Jesuit tradition, we have a responsibility. As we seek to understand and heal, we must reflect on and engage in respectful dialogue about this and all other instances of racial injustice on our campus, in our city and in America.
If our country is going to be better, we all need to do better. We owe that to our Black students, faculty and staff who have carried the burden of racism and have continued to raise their voices for equity and justice. We owe that to ourselves as human beings, as children of God.
To support our students and help process today’s verdict, the Office of Engagement and Inclusion is providing space in the Alumni Memorial Union to gather and reflect, and various academic programs are planning events to provide further context for the events surrounding George Floyd’s death. Campus Ministry is offering opportunities to gather in community, and the Center for Teaching and Learning will host an open session for instructors to discuss the impact on classrooms on Wednesday, April 21, via Teams (instructors should check their email for the link to join).
Lastly, we call our Marquette community to learn from this; to work toward true justice for all by confronting racism and defending the dignity of every human life. Please pray for George Floyd’s family and our nation as we heal.
Dr. William Welburn
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence
Rev. James Voiss, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry
RELATED CONTENT: Read the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ official statement online.