Creating a new way to be together
We made the difficult decision to go virtual and send most people home at noon today, out of concern for the safety of our community of students, faculty and staff. We believed that our campus community would want to be near their homes and loved ones this afternoon.
And so on this day of sunny autumn glory, we left campus to await a moment that, no matter what was decided, would bring sorrow to our community. The moment seemed especially cruel, parting ways on such a lovely fall day. As I left campus tonight I looked lovingly on the majestic tower, the colorful trees and the unparalled beauty of our campus.
Given the decision of the Attorney General and the protests arising in our community, we know that our campus will feel the effects of this decision. For those of us committed to equity and peace, these next few days will heighten the contrast between glory of God’s beauty on our campus and the constructs that our society faces like an insurmountable divide.
I know that many of you are aching tonight. You are tired and overwhelmed with the never-ending violence and injustice. You are tired of not feeling safe. I also know that as a white woman I can’t begin to know what people of color are feeling or have felt. However, what I do know is that hurt people hurt people and we must strive as a community to come together. S. Joan reminded me today in a meeting that love conquers all. It is the only vaccine for the hatred of racial injustice.
And so I will pray, because I will not lose hope. Leaders must never lose hope!
In his 1964 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King, Jr., made a statement that resonates today:
"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born."
We strive to understand this work of creating a new way to be together, and thus of making Mount Mary a place of peace and hope, and ultimately, healing. Next week when we return, we will hold events that serve to bring us closer to one another. Students, faculty and staff are assisting in this true work of equity and understanding.
Indeed, with the pandemic, racial inequity and a community in unrest, this moment at times feels darker than Dr. King's "thousand midnights." I honor and acknowledge this pain, and I pray for us all, and for the courage to face the work of tomorrow with renewed hope for better days ahead.