As we observe the recent events surrounding the unjust and tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, we grieve deeply for the families of these individuals. We acknowledge the hurt and sorrow these events and others like it have caused our nation and community. We grieve as a community over the pain that our African American students, faculty and staff are feeling.
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Our community should carry the priorities of the Kingdom of God, in which the dignity of each person is honored and godly justice is implemented. We are to be ministers of peace — proclaiming the offer of grace and mercy to all people, and working diligently to restore God’s rule and reign within his creation.
We have to remain committed to breaking down barriers and eliminating harmful bias, discrimination and racism so that we can create a campus community that truly reflects the depth and breadth of God’s kingdom. We will continue to learn and practice active listening as we develop authentic relationships that lead to trust, honesty and respect. This is a commitment we all must own.
We commit to educating and training the university community by creating opportunities for dialogue in our academic and residential spaces. We will engage in critical conversations and initiatives that promote a culturally competent environment. Creating institutional and cultural change is a slow process — often too slow — and it’s imperative that we continue to work toward a community and a society in which everyone feels welcome and safe.
As a campus community, we must all work to become “faithful witnesses” through authentic, consistent and committed action that is likewise Christ-centered, servant-oriented and wrapped in love. We know that members of our university family are hurting and vulnerable. We encourage everyone in the SAU community to support our students, faculty, staff and friends of color by speaking out against racism and bias. There is far more that unites us than divides us, and we need each other now more than ever.
May God’s love, the peace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit faithfully guide us in this moment and in the work ahead of us.
Dr. Brent Ellis, SAU President
Kevin Brown, SAU Chief Diversity Officer