Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,
Yesterday, the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin concluded. Final arguments were heard and the case was placed in the hands of the jury to begin their deliberations. This has been an emotional journey for all of us, but most especially for our sisters and brothers of color and for the Black community, in particular. Many among us are again experiencing pain, devastation, anger, and helplessness as, once more, justice is sought for a crime committed against a Black man and there is fear there will be no justice. The sight of Mr. Chauvin’s knee on Mr. George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds is not one we can “unsee;” the feeling of horror and disbelief is one we shall never forget. The image is imprinted in perpetuity on the collective consciousness of the global community.
Tensions mount while we await the jury’s verdict. Anticipation of the consequences of the verdict are being visualized and preparations to keep the peace are underway in cities throughout our country. Let us remember that we are a College Community committed to right and just relationships. Every person is a “dear neighbor,” whose dignity and worth no one should ever threaten. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the beloved late Representative John Lewis believed and championed protest, but protest that is peaceful, respectful, and non-violent.
Whatever the verdict, the most constructive action we can take is to be peaceful and to use the right time and place to express either support for or disappointment in the verdict. Now is the moment to stand together to offer one another compassion, empathy, and care. As a College founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, we reject racism in any and all of its ugly forms and manifestations. We work tirelessly to overcome the deep divisions that have senselessly separated the races. We commit ourselves to continuing this work with generous spirits, prayerful wisdom, and courageous action.
On this day in April, in the year of a global pandemic that has changed the lives of us all forever, let us consciously choose to become part of the solution to the scourge of racism and the dead end of violence. Let us join hands, hearts, and minds to work to create the “beloved community” Dr. King called us to become.
Wishing you peace and the grace to overcome,
Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
After the verdict is in, if you wish to speak with someone please contact the persons and offices listed below.
LaKeisha Thorpe, Ph.D.
Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion ThorpeL@chc.edu
Sister Sheila Kennedy, SSJ, Ph.D.
CHC Counseling Center KennedyS@chc.edu
(215-248-7104 ext. 2)
Sister Michelle Lesher, M.A.
Office of Mission and Ministry LesherM@chc.edu
Jacklyn Newns, M.A.
Office of Campus Ministry NewnsJ@chc.edu