University News

President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., Delivers Message on Nation's Racial Violence

Dear SJU Community,

While watching the news last night, my family continued our discussions about the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Trying to respond to my children’s questions, I have been reminded once again how complex and tragic the experience of race in America has been throughout our history and continues today.

Our Jesuit heritage and mission, grounded in the service of faith and the promotion of justice, calls on us to approach societal problems actively and reflectively. To care. To pray. To discern. To act.

I have come to understand in my own life the privilege that I have which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for me to fully understand the pain of discrimination, racial hatred, prejudice, or fear. But I do know that this pain is deep and persistent, and I share the same anger, sadness, and frustration that I know you do as well.

I have been reflecting lately on the words and 2018 campus visit of Congressman John Lewis. Recalling his own story of being beaten during a peaceful protest that itself was in response to another civil rights’ demonstrator having been shot and killed, Lewis’ physical and emotional pain were evident. Yet he has remained ever resilient and hopeful throughout his life and career, which is incredibly admirable. “I say to you as students, as young people, as parents and teachers: never give up. Never give in. Never lose faith,” he said to the Hawk community. “We will get there. We will create the beloved community.”

As a father and university president, I’m still struggling to find answers and meaning. As individuals and a campus community, we must remember these tragedies, not become immune to their frequency, and support the cause for justice. Consistent with our Jesuit mission and Catholic identity, we go forward committed to the dignity and inherent value of all human beings.

I have asked Fr. Daniel Joyce, S.J., executive director of mission programs, and Dr. Nicole Stokes, associate provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion, to convene a virtual opportunity for prayer and reflection in the coming weeks.

Please join me in prayer and concern for all,

Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.
President