Dear Members of the Emmanuel College Community,
This past weekend, our nation witnessed a disturbing outbreak of hatred and violence as white-nationalist groups rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia. Events took a particularly shocking turn as one demonstrator deliberately plowed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a young woman, Heather D. Heyer, and injuring nearly 20 others. To Ms. Heyer’s family, and to all harmed in this tragic incident, we send our heartfelt prayer.
How sad that, after decades of advances in equality and civil rights, we continue to see such unabashed expressions of hate-filled ideologies. It may be comforting to think of white supremacy as belonging to a bygone era, but images from Charlottesville remind us that it remains real and active in our society, and we at Emmanuel condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
At times such as this, it is important to affirm that today’s purveyors of bigotry do not represent who we are as a nation. While we have frequently, and sometimes gravely, failed to live up to our highest principles, we have also made immense sacrifices to liberate millions from the yoke of racist institutions and oppression. The vitriol of the few must not stall our progress in building a pluralistic and dynamic culture rooted in true respect and love for one another.
Emmanuel remains committed to playing a vital part in this ongoing endeavor. In the 2017-18 academic year, we will continue to offer opportunities for listening and dialogue in order to deepen our understanding of the experiences and perspectives of others. In all our discourse, in the classroom and beyond, we will advance the Catholic intellectual tradition by examining the pressing issues of our time in a way that honors facts, reason and complexity. True to our century-old educational mission, we will cultivate a community dedicated to values and to celebrating the dignity and gifts of every human person.
Sister Janet Eisner, SND