Email from President Dan Martin to the SPU community on May 30, 2020.
I am writing today, on the eve of what is often set aside as a sabbath day of rest in many Christian traditions, recognizing that amid recent race-based acts of violence, there is neither rest nor peace. As we end a week marked by the heinous death of George Floyd, and as unrest grows in the city of Seattle and across the country, I join those on our campus who are grieving and angry. At Seattle Pacific, we stand in solidarity and mourning with our students, faculty, and staff who are part of the communities most affected by this tragedy.
The recent deaths of Black people, the rise of anti-Asian racism, and the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color continue to take place in a broader social context. We recognize that the same structural problems of racism and violence affect our students.
Our Student Life and University Ministries teams are in conversation with students as we’ve continued to seek ways to foster dialogue without being together physically in community. In these conversations, we’ve heard stories of students whose friends and family members have suffered personal attacks. We recognize the impact of retraumatization as repeated acts of violence have been witnessed in our nation. We know the range of emotions that are being felt, including anger, disappointment, and fear.
I cannot begin to calculate the pain felt in this moment, but I know that our response must be one of love, a love that recognizes the collective impact and also offers each individual an opportunity to process and heal.
As a Christian university that is “fully committed to graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling a grace-filled community,” we are preparing our students – through curricular and co-curricular programming – to be part of the solution to create a more just and equitable world. In doing so, let us all model what it looks like to be in community – to grieve together, to listen to each other’s stories, to problem-solve, and to extend support.
This week there will be a series of Zoom sessions for faculty, staff, and students to process recent events. This is a place to ask questions, have thoughtful discussions, and share resources. You can expect to receive more information shortly.
I ask for your partnership in cultivating a community that reflects God’s kingdom vision more fully. Please join me in praying for health, healing, and peace in the days ahead.
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020