Originally Posted: May 30, 2020
This is a painful time for our country again as we grapple with the virulent and continuing threat of racism, as well as the violence that often mars legitimate mass public protest. Our SMU community grieves with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. For many in our University community, these deaths are intensely personal and salt to ancient wounds.
Events underscoring racial and social injustice point to a tear in the fabric of our democracy. As Americans, we have the right to peacefully protest injustice and violations of public trust; therefore, it is important to recognize that this constitutionally protected right is sometimes usurped by those promoting anarchy. In addition, if we live by our words, “World Changers Shaped Here,” it is crucial that we remain dedicated to educational, economic, legal, and social programs (such as the Cultural Intelligence Initiative @ SMU) developed to build and enhance communication across cultural, religious and racial divides.
As the University community returns to campus following our ongoing response to COVID-19, it is essential for each of us to be a force for mutual respect and commitment to those with whom we interact every day. Just as we have common responsibilities to those around us in fighting the effects of the virus, we also must visibly share our commitment to fighting racism and violence.
R. Gerald Turner