Reflecting on Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota

July 12, 2016

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, 

We in the Seattle University family join President Obama and others throughout the nation in mourning the victims of last week’s violence. As we grapple with the deaths of the African American men shot by police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota and the five law enforcement officers killed and others who were injured in Dallas, those words so integral to our mission—empowering leaders for a just and humane world—tug at us collectively. 

You would be forgiven if the recent acts of senseless violence, including those in Orlando, elsewhere in the country and around the world, prompted you to ask “Where is the justice, where is the humanity?” My answer: Justice and humanity exists within all of us. That may sound simplistic and I by no means intend it to be. However, I believe that we must refuse to give in to the noise that wants to drown out the sounds of goodness in peoples’ hearts and minds. We must refuse to give in to helplessness and hopelessness. 

Being part of a Jesuit educational institution means we must always work to improve the lives of those who suffer at the hands of injustice and inhumanity by way of the examples and values that we work and live by. It means being peacemakers, reaching out compassionately to one another and healing a broken world. 

Please join me in prayer and contemplation for the victims and their families of these horrific acts. There are two opportunities tomorrow and Thursday to come together: 

  • At noon Wednesday, the Office of Multicultural Affairs will offer its OMA Living Room (STCN Pavilion 180) as a gathering space for solidarity and community. This will be a time for reflection as we consider how impactful the issues of hatred, discrimination and fear effect each of us.  
  • The Thursday 12:30 p.m. Mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius will offer a liturgy for the victims of violence and prayer for the advent of peace.

Finally, let us rededicate ourselves to our mission, especially in these moments when it seems as though we are swimming against the tide.  

In prayer and peace, 

Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.