Two weeks ago, on May 25, George Floyd was killed by now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. This killing sent the country into distress with protests and riots. It caused police to fight protests against police brutality with brutality. It caused unheard voices around the country to be awakened and heard. It caused a reawakening of the civil rights movement.
One might think that protest and action must be left to the activists. However, it is the duty of the Church to promote the protection and defense of those who are vulnerable.
The University of Dallas’ Catholic identity, as well as the ideals of virtue which it is built upon, means that it is the duty of the university’s student body and administration to do the same.
As a predominantly white university, the injustices against people of color do not directly affect most of the university’s students, staff or faculty. This does not mean that this injustice is unimportant to address. If anything, it is far more important to do so. The students, staff, and faculty who are being affected by this unjust murder must be considered.
White students – and even some students of color – may not feel the impact of racial and ethnic inequalities or discriminations. However, it is important that they support, empathize with and take action to help those who do.
Being an active ally to struggling members of the UD community is at the center of both the University’s Catholic identity, as well as the virtues on which it is built.
The ideals to which the university is dedicated are Veritatem, Justitiam, Diligite — Love Ye Truth and Justice. The brutal killing of George Floyd, as well as all other black lives which have been unjustly taken at the hands of police officers and civilians alike, are both anti-truth and anti-justice. These acts strike against the human dignity of all people. They violate justice through prejudicial, racist and discriminatory actions against people of color. Issues concerning racial discrimination should not be taken passively or ignored. They must be brought to light and talked about in order to educate people and help dismantle this systemic evil, wherever that may be.
If the foundational virtues of the University do not appeal to one, one could turn to the University’s Catholic identity.
In John 11, when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha dies, Mary, begins to weep at the death of their brother. “When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled… and Jesus wept.”
Jesus saw the pain of those who were troubled and it troubled him. It caused him to weep. How often does one allow oneself to feel the pain of others and to share the burden with them? If Jesus, the divine son of God has shown human empathy, should we not also? For it is empathy that leads us to mercy, and mercy that leads to justice.
After Jesus weeps, he brings Lazarus back to life. Jesus not only deeply empathized with those who were weary, but his divine mercy led him to take action to help them. Thankfully, Christ’s mercy allows us to act justly and mercifully for the greater glory of God.
You may be thinking, “How does this affect the UD Bubble? Leave UD out of this!”
This murder awakened the voices of some members of the UD community – yet another part of UD’s community is sometimes unwilling to listen. If one part of the body of Christ is suffering, it is the Catholic’s duty to participate in their suffering. When one part of the UD community is crying for help, the rest should stop, listen and actively help however they can.