Dear CSB and SJU Community Members:
When George Floyd was killed nearly one year ago, our community joined many, many others in the call for justice. We shared in feelings of loss, anguish, and despair. We prayed for the Floyd family and all affected by this tragedy. Many of us understood, more powerfully than before, that justice is not always equally applied, and that all people are not treated with the respect and dignity they so richly deserve.
Across the country, we waited with anxiety for the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin trial. Yesterday, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The verdict brought a measure of justice for George Floyd, and it was a sign that our legal system can, at its best, bring justice for all. It signaled accountability for those who harm others and divided the actions of Derek Chauvin from the behavior of other police officers who serve our communities with dignity and care.
In a recent article, journalist Sara Weissman quoted a faculty letter from Syracuse University, said, “this moment of ‘great anguish’ is an opportunity for the university to reflect on its educational model….to grapple critically and ethically with questions of human difference through sustained engagement in humanistic inquiry and artistic expression.” May our campus community continue to foster critical thinking, ethical leadership, and passionate advocacy in our students, faculty and staff, and for the larger global community in which they live, work and serve.
We have much to do as we move forward together. We are guided, again, in these moments of emotion and difficulty by our Benedictine values of listening, justice and hospitality, receiving all as Christ.
Please join us in praying for justice and healing. We are in the Easter season, spring is arriving, and we are entering our final month together. Let us listen with the ear of our hearts and act with compassion as we build an inclusive campus community.
Laurie Hamen, J.D.
College of Saint Benedict
Eugene McAllister, Ph.D.
Saint John’s University