U.S. Jesuit College and University Campuses Speak Out Against Racial Injustice

BY ISN STAFFDecember 7, 2014

Editor’s Note: This story was amended on Monday, December 8, 2014 to reflect additional information about Seattle University

In light of the recent grand jury announcement regarding the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the death of Eric Garner in New York City, and the recent killing of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Jesuit college and university campuses have been alive with calls for an end to racial injustice in the U.S.

Following the November 24th grand jury announcement in Ferguson student groups on Le Moyne College’s campus including Amnesty International and Alpha Sigma Nu, led a campus-wide vigil in support of the people of Ferguson.  The crowd of fifty students and faculty gathered for a moment of silence and march throughout campuses before joining in prayer and reflection.  On December 5, members of the Seattle University community met on the first floor of the campus student center #‎BlackLivesMatter‬ die-in. Students laid down on the ground and remained there for at least 15 minutes in solidarity with protesters and victims of violence and racism in communities across the U.S.

Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of John Carroll University leads a campus prayer vigil on Friday, November 5, 2014.

Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of John Carroll University leads a campus prayer vigil on Friday, November 5, 2014. [SOURCE: Grace Donnelly | JCU ’16]

Earlier this week a number of campuses held prayer vigils and rallies to call attention to the presence of racial injustice in local communities and across the country.  Students at Fairfield University symbolically chained themselves around the main statue on campus in a silent protest and then marched tied together in solidarity through the campus located in southwestern Connecticut campus.  At Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, students held an evening vigil in the center of campus to “stand in solidarity against the injustice facing our country.”  Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J., led a noontime vigil of silent reflection and prayer for justice and peace at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

Situated just 11 miles from Ferugson, Missouri, Saint Louis University (SLU) has been deeply engaged in responding to the death of Michael Brown and subsequent grand jury indictment announcement.  In the months following Michael Brown’s death SLU hosted a number of dialogues, peaceful protests, prayer vigils and community events.  Area protestors, including SLU students gathered on the campus for nearly a week in October.  Through dialogue and compromise the protestors eventually agreed to leave campus.  SLU president Dr. Fred Pestello has continued to keep the university community informed about SLU’s efforts to support the Saint Louis and Ferguson communities in healing and moving forward.  Dr. Pestello has also put forward an extensive plan for how Saint Louis University will address issues of racial inequality faced internally by the SLU community.

Other photos of campus prayer vigils and rallies:

[Sources for this story include John Carroll University, Le Moyne College and Saint Louis University]

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