We in the Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary are shocked and saddened by the anti-Asian racism manifested in violent acts in our country in the past week. We condemn these actions and attitudes and stand in solidarity with our Asian students, friends, and compatriots. We pray that we all may come to a better understanding of these sinful attitudes and may work together to eliminate whatever causes them from our hearts and our communities.
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The heinous death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 has angered and saddened us here in the School of Theology and Seminary. We, as a Roman Catholic and Benedictine institution, stand with those who are calling out for fundamental change not only within the police departments of our nation but in American life more broadly. We recognize that this solidarity with our African American sisters and brothers will require change on our part. We must become more aware of how a long-standing racist culture (America’s “original sin”) privileges whiteness and leads us the privileged to be slow to object openly to such violations of God-given dignity and human rights. Listening to the voices of people of color will alert us to the biases and prejudices that keep us from taking concrete steps to bring about change. In order to do this listening better, we commit ourselves to examine our own attitudes, practices, policies, and structures with the help of our students and others in the church and the public whom we are committed to serve. This transformation of ourselves and our institutional culture demands that we take steps day-after-day in a conversion of life.