Resources, Peaceful Protest Guidance and Upcoming Programs

TO: SJU Community
FROM: Nicole Stokes, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
RE: Resources, Peaceful Protest Guidance and Upcoming Programs
DATE: October 28, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

As Dr. Reed mentioned in his University Announcement, we as a University community are saddened by the death of Walter Wallace, Jr. in West Philadelphia late Monday afternoon. On a personal level and as an African American woman, I am dismayed and outraged to see another Black man tragically killed. While the details of this particular case are still unfolding, we can still respond on a human level. The taking of someone’s life (regardless of the reason) requires us to critically reflect and to emotionally respond. A life was taken. A life has ended. A parent and a family lost a loved one. Period.
I know many of us will be called to peaceful action. In fact, some of our students, faculty and staff are already in the process of planning an on-campus faculty-led reflection in front of Villiger Hall, set for 10 a.m. on Saturday.
We can react and respond and we have the tools to do so as safely as possible. If you plan to publicly demonstrate, please follow the University’s Policy on Assembly and Expression and consider the following:

  • Plan ahead and do your research.
  • Connect and participate only with groups who have experience with and a reputation for peaceful protesting and nonviolent action.
  • Never participate alone and have a plan to connect with others if you become separated.
  • Read the news and alerts from local governments which may provide guidance or impose curfews.
  • Remain calm and focused. React to signs of escalation sooner, rather than later.
  • As always, observe COVID-19 health and safety measures. Mask up, maintain six feet of distance from others whenever possible, do not attend if you feel sick, and wash up.

Peaceful protesting is not the only way to take action. Our University mission calls for engaged citizenship and this can take many forms. We have a responsibility to take advantage of the numerous programs at Saint Joseph’s to educate ourselves on these issues affecting our community, neighbors and country. As you may have seen, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recently offered a series specifically examining structural inequality in Philadelphia, which will continue through 2021. Please continue to visit for the latest programming.
Some members of our community may also experience difficult emotions related to these social and political events. Please connect with University resources to help you with this:

As a Jesuit institution, we have a rich history and legacy of leading on issues of injustice. Please join me in being part of this responsibility and tradition.