Dear Members of the John Carroll University Community,
I am deeply saddened by recent events, as we are once again witnessing racism and violence in our nation. We are all affected, as communities gather in protests and take collective action, fighting against social injustices, and seeking communal support and comfort. As a Jesuit Catholic University, we stand in solidarity with all who are victims of systemic racial injustice in the United States, including victims of killings like George Floyd.
In the words of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their May 29, 2020 statement:
“We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion. Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.”
As an educational institution, we recognize our moral obligation to educate our students and ourselves about the history and enduring effects of anti-black racism in the United States and in American higher education. As a campus community, we remain deeply committed to furthering our understanding of the structural inequities in our society and acting to eliminate those inequalities. Racism, hate, and all forms of discrimination are not tolerated at John Carroll University. Our structures, policies, and procedures aim to promote equity and inclusion for all members of our community in their living, learning, and working environments, ensuring a culture of care centered on human dignity. This work is fundamental to our mission as a Jesuit institution.
We feel a deep responsibility to support our students, faculty, staff, contract workers, and alumni and their families and friends who feel the daily effects of these realities in their lives. Our hearts and minds are with those who live in fear and uncertainty, even and perhaps especially during the current pandemic, which also highlights systemic injustices based on social identities like race, gender, and socio-economic background.
The Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus invite us to walk with the excluded -- the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated -- in a mission of reconciliation and justice. Today, we call on each one of John Carroll’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni to stand actively against racism, discrimination, bias, and bigotry. We encourage our campus community to educate one another and advocate in solidarity, and we invite true engagement that goes beyond empathy. However, we do remind those who choose to collectively mobilize, or to even protest, to please do so safely and peacefully, paying particular attention to public health and personal safety guidelines.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Division and Campus Ministry will be holding online support and listening sessions, and will be available for individual support. Campus Ministry will have a virtual prayer service on Tuesday, June 2 at 4 p.m. for students, faculty, and staff. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion will host a Community Meeting on Wednesday June 3, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. — a link to register was sent to students, faculty, and staff via email. In addition, the Jesuit Community will pray during its Masses all week for the intention of racial healing in the United States and for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and the consolation of his family.
Please join us in this call to action as we pray for and reflect upon peace and justice in our world and in our hearts.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
President, John Carroll University