July 8, 2016
This past year I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ powerful and award-winning testimony of race in America with a small group of faculty members. An African-American writer and commentator, Coates’ book, Between the World and Me (2015), is written as a letter to his young son, describing recent expressions of race-related violence and various cultural, legal, and social responses. As I was greatly impacted by his writing, I was deeply discouraged by what I interpreted to be a profound sense of hopelessness. Despair is something I wish upon no one, and yet this week’s violence in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas lends credence to Coates’ sentiment.
I look forward to reading the book once again, this time with a small number of students who will meet routinely with me this academic year as a President’s Roundtable group. Too, I recently learned that many members of the Creighton Global Initiative committee will meet frequently on their own to continue enjoying cross-campus relationships, and together they will engage Coates’ work in shared discussion.
The recent shootings, resulting in the loss of cherished lives, emphasize that there are real issues in our society, including significant challenges regarding race and equality. We mourn for the victims and their families, and all who are affected by these tragedies. I ask that you continue to pray for peace and healing, and I encourage you to actively renew your support for efforts to end violence and discrimination wherever they occur. But I also ask us, as a community of higher learning, to discuss, debate, and query these realities. In our classrooms, research, writing, peer groups, and across campus, we must recognize the ways by which we are indeed impacted, and as Catholic and Jesuit we can be a source of hope – for our students, our city, and well beyond.
I also would like to reiterate that any members of our campus community who feel they are victims of any hatred should contact Public Safety at 402.280.2104, or 402.280.2911, in case of emergency. Campus resources are also available through the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Student resources include the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Counseling Services.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ