Statement from Seton Hill University President Mary C. Finger

Sixty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream for an America where his children would be judged for the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.

“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children,” he proclaimed in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.

And yet, white supremacy remains an evil that continues to plague our culture. Over the weekend, three Black residents of Jacksonville, Fla. were shot and killed in a racially-motivated attack by a gunman using a rifle inscribed with Nazi insignia. Students at Edward Waters University, a historically Black college, were gratefully spared a similar fate as the gunman was refused entry to the campus.

As President Joe Biden said in the wake of the murders, “Even as we continue searching for answers, we must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America. We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin. Hate must have no safe harbor. Silence is complicity and we must not remain silent.”

All of us at Seton Hill University pray for the victims of this latest act of violence, their families and the Jacksonville community. We pray for our Black students, faculty and staff who feel the impact of white supremacy in their everyday lives. We pray that our nation will rise up and make justice a reality for all God’s children.

We also take action.

Our founders, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, provided for us a groundwork to fight racism. We remain committed to combating oppression in all of its forms – both on our campus and in the community - through the work of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Student Services, the efforts of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill as well as through our overall diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Through scholarship and education, through speaking out and not remaining silent, and through fostering a community that engages in dialogue and respects and celebrates our differences, Seton Hill is working to bring about the change in our nation that Dr. King spoke about a lifetime ago.