Celebrate Tommie Pride: Day of Caring and Sharing
In the face of any challenge, we are reinvigorated when we take a moment to acknowledge our victories and reflect on the ways in which our efforts are making their impact. So many at St. Thomas are deeply involved in the work of building a community of inclusion, so that each of its members feels as though they belong to a whole. We do not always acknowledge the critical nature of this particular work, but we sometimes have unfortunate reminders of why it is so significant.
There is a co-mingling of joy and sorrow which is part of every human community. At times, we might experience moments of confusion or fatigue. There are certainly those moments when it feels as though our collective hearts are breaking. This message comes to you within the context of the recent American tragedy that many of us are attempting to process.
When addressing the mourners of Virginia Tech, poet and Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni spoke these words:
"We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized."
Giovanni’s ultimate message to the Virginia Tech community was that they will prevail; but within this message there is a definite call to activism, a call to nurture, support and protect all of God’s creation. It is a call that many at St. Thomas have embraced with our whole selves.
Tommie Pride: Day of Caring and Sharing is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the work that has been to done to build not just a St. Thomas community but a diverse human community that accepts each part, rejoices with it, and when necessary, comes to the aid of its hurting members. The program will take place from noon to 2 p.m. tomorrow, May 11, in Room 304, Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
The event is sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity and is co-chaired by Sherrie Maze and Michael Glirbas. Music will be provided by the Show’d Up Band members Joe Kreitzer, Lief Johnson, Father David Smith, Tom Hodgson, Mark Neuzil, Bob Douglas, Dan Gjelten and Paul Strickland. Many campus offices will be part of a program to highlight St. Thomas’ expansive contributions and involvement in institutional diversity initiatives, multicultural and intercultural programming and awareness, academic cultural programs, campus safety and social justice. Prizes will be awarded to winners in the campus climate survey raffle, CommUNITY Week Diversi-Tee Shirts will be available for a small donation, and a light lunch will be provided.
This has been an exciting and progressive academic year at St. Thomas and I want to personally thank everyone for their continued support of the Office of Institutional Diversity. Please join us!