President Julie Sullivan shared the following in an email to the St. Thomas community.
A Small – and Long Overdue – Measure of Justice
Today, George Floyd’s family received a small measure of justice with the conviction of Derek Chauvin on all three charges.
First and foremost, please join me in praying once again for the family and friends of George Floyd and remembering the loss of life that remains despite the trial’s end.
For many, this trial has felt like the culmination of years of outrage and grief over police killings of Black people in America. Even as the trial has unfolded, several events, including the killing of Daunte Wright just a few miles from the trial, have provided a grim reminder that Mr. Floyd’s death is one in a decades-long history of fatal encounters.
This broader awakening to the pain that our Black community has felt for many years has inspired a renewed and collective call for justice. We all have a responsibility to engage in the work of racial justice, and St. Thomas will be part of this work. True justice cannot be achieved until the systemic racism and inequities that led to the death of Mr. Floyd, and the deaths of so many other Black people, are dismantled. We must unite and never stop striving for that true justice.
Today, I call on our entire St. Thomas community to stand with and support your Black peers, students and co-workers, and all of our BIPOC community members who bear the impact of racial injustices. Support them and show them that you see their God-given humanity. Give them space to process what today’s verdict means. Show them compassion. Listen without judgment. Tell them you are there for them.
To help us find the individual and collective strength we need to process this verdict and what comes next as we work harder to achieve racial justice, Campus Ministry and the Racial Justice Initiative later this week will invite us to join together as a community. This will be a space to pray, feel, process and be in community with St. Thomas. Please look for more information coming shortly.
If our students or employees need to take time this evening to be with their families or communities to process these events away from campus, please take the time and space to do so. Please remember that resources are available to help students, faculty and staff process and heal.
Despite today’s conviction, the coming days, weeks, months and longer will continue to be difficult. Please hold each other up and continue praying for a brighter future for our community and our nation.