Carthage reinforces commitment to fight racism
Dear Carthage Students, Faculty, and Staff,
The very first words of Carthage’s mission statement call us to seek truth. The very last minutes of George Floyd’s life tell a truth that is both tragic and important.
That truth is of a man immobilized in police custody, pleading “I can’t breathe,” calling for his mother, dying under a police officer’s knee. That truth is that the encounter lasted minutes, not seconds, ample time for that police officer to change his mind. The truth is that, during these minutes, there were other police officers who could have intervened but did not, and that there were bystanders speaking to the police, pleading for Mr. Floyd’s life. In those moments, for all to see, there was neither justice nor mercy.
I grew up in the South, and the video reminds me of footage during the civil rights movement, when police in Birmingham, Alabama, turned hoses and dogs on people who protested nonviolently against desegregation. In that footage there is a similar truth: of violence by police against defenseless citizens. And there is another similar truth: the ugly truth of racism.
We are no strangers to racism at Carthage. We are not afraid to tell the truth of racism, to condemn it, to discuss its history, and to seek its end. All those who attended our series this year, America: A Racial History, gained a deeper understanding of racism’s forms and consequences. We know that only through education and vigilance can humanity work against it. We know that educating ourselves and our students about racism is our obligation as an educational community. And we know that our work is not done, for we must always do more.
Students, faculty, and staff: Know that Carthage, a proudly Lutheran institution, stands for the welcome and belonging of all in our community. Know that Carthage recognizes inclusion as one of the most important ways in which we build both the strength of our community and the strength of each other. Know, finally, the words of Scripture: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)