Dear Friends University Community:
We are a nation in the midst of a season of pain, sadness, frustration and fear. Like many of you, I am outraged at the death of George Floyd and that this senseless and cruel death is another dark reminder of structural racism and injustice. Clearly, the impact of inequality in America is strong and raw. Our nation is in need of healing and justice.
To our faculty, staff, and students of color, we acknowledge the pain of this injustice. One of our core values at Friends University is inclusion. Inclusion is a part of our history as Friends was one of the first universities in Kansas to admit women and African American students. As Quakers, we have an important legacy as abolitionists and peacemakers, and we believe that everyone is a special life created in the image of God with inherent worth and dignity. Therefore, with our legacy of inclusion and our love for others, we simply are unable to let the recent incidents surrounding injustice go by in silence. We are compelled as Christians and as academic leaders to foster a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging and we recognize the God-given potential of all persons. At Friends University we remain committed to breaking down barriers, encouraging important conversations, speaking up for the marginalized, and caring for those around us. We want to be a voice for civility and compassion and not violence and hatred.
As a white woman of privilege, I am continually growing in my understanding of the injustices of my brothers and sisters, and I don’t have this all figured out. This journey of racial reconciliation will take all of us, as a collaborative effort, so I invite you to join the conversation and the important work. I encourage our campus to reach out to me and our Director of Multicultural Engagement and Student Affairs, Crystal Aluko for help and support. Our campus is here to help each other process through this together.
This is a significant moment. As people of faith, we must respond in love and justice to help heal our community (Micah 6:8). We must listen to the concern and pain of those suffering from inequality or those simply overwhelmed. We must examine our hearts and reshape our ways of thinking to be a part of the solution. Importantly, we need to pray for the family of George Floyd, for the impacted lives and livelihoods in destroyed communities, and pray for our law enforcement and first responders seeking to keep us safe. Please join me in earnest prayer for our nation. Let us not turn away in frustration, but lean in to the hard but critical reconciling work God calls us to do.
Dr. Amy Bragg Carey
President, Friends University