To the Thomas College Community,
The tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has left me short on words, utterly heart-broken, and haunted by the familiar, painful feeling of injustice. George Floyd’s death is yet another example of the systemic racism that exists in our society and that is woven so deeply into the fabric of our nation that, unless you experience it, you can fail to recognize it even when it is right before your eyes.
Silence is not an option for any of us. Yet a simple condemnation of Mr. Floyd’s tragic death without pausing for additional reflection is inadequate. These events are contrary to all the ideals of the open and inclusive college community that we hold dear. We do condemn it. But we cannot just hope that a condemnation of George Floyd’s death will somehow address these issues. Any more than Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Or Breonna Taylor’s death.
Enshrined in our mission is preparing students for success in their personal and professional lives. Education can help give deeper context and meaning to these horrific events. It empowers each of us to face and acknowledge the truths of unequal justice and realize the role we may play in both the problem and in the solution. But that knowledge demands we find our voice and add it to the millions already peacefully raised–crying out to create real, lasting, and long-overdue change. Our mission also speaks to leadership and to service. These are both our opportunities and responsibilities, to use our education for leadership and service to make our communities safer places, dedicated to justice and peace.
We must work together as a community. I am immediately bringing together members of the Thomas College community to continue the conversation that began online this week and to identify the most meaningful steps we can take to address systemic racism in our community. We will have difficult conversations and we will listen, learn, and grow, together. We must lift each other up and hold each other accountable with our words, our ideas, and our actions. No one should live in fear that the color of one’s skin justifies acts of hatred and bigotry.
Together and with deep respect,
Laurie G. Lachance