College President Addresses Racism in America

College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., sent the following letter to students, faculty, and staff on June 5, 2020:

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his hope-filled “I Have a Dream” speech.  In it he longed for the time when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character”.  How appropriate to recall these words today as we mourn the unconscionable act of violence that took the life of George Floyd.

Racism in America has had a long and painful history.  It began over 400 years ago with the arrival of African slaves in 1619.  In the past few months we have witnessed a rise in brutality – the killing not only of George Floyd in Minnesota, but Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and so many others.  We cannot remain indifferent to the ongoing abuse of people of color in our country.

During the past 68 years, Dominican has been blessed to be a diverse College community, especially among our student body.  We are united in the belief that all people possess dignity and are worthy of respect.  Our mission statement calls us to be creators of an environment “characterized by respect for the individual and concern for the community”.  We are encouraged to educate in a manner that fosters “reflective understanding and compassionate involvement”. Hence, we cannot remain silent when members of our human community are abused.  Rather, we must stand together in condemning that racism which harms the dignity of human life.  We support the right to protest while opposing those actions that abuse people and destroy property.

Dominican’s core values of community and service are particularly motivating at this time.  We embrace our diversity and renew our commitment to serve in ways that are ethical and just.  We cannot gather “face to face” at this time of the Covid19 separation but we can join in prayerful remembrance, honoring those who have been killed and those who remain marginalized.

May our efforts contribute to a more respectful and inclusive society.