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An unidentified Loyola University Maryland student holds a sign calling for solidarity in Baltimore at a nonviolent demonstration in response to the death of Freddy Gray. [Loyola University Campus Ministry]

BY ISN STAFFApril 29, 2015

BALTIMORE, MD – The leaders of Jesuit educational institutions in the Baltimore metro area, Loyola University Maryland, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Loyola Blakefield High School, and the Jesuit Nativity-model school Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy, have spoken publicly on the loss of Freddie Gray and nonviolent and violent reactions that have taken place in recent days.

In a joint statement, the presidents of Cristo Rey, Loyola Blakefield, and Saint Ignatius encouraged reflection on the loss of Mr. Gray and the various responses, and cited the responsibility of those affiliated with the institutions to be “ministers of peace and hope” in the Baltimore community.

Loyola University Maryland president Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., expressed his gratitude that he is part of a Jesuit Catholic community in a statement released on April 28. Fr. Linnane emphasized the school’s Jesuit Catholic tradition in light of the current situation in Baltimore.  He stated that the loss of Freddie Gray and the various forms of response create an opportunity for the Loyola community to reflect on how each individual is “called to work toward social justice, to give voice to the voiceless, and to be open to building community and finding common ground.” He also noted that a group of Loyola students independently organized a peaceful demonstration on campus to bring attention to the issue of Gray’s death and that Loyola students also participated in peaceful demonstrations in other areas of the city during the weekend.

Freddie Gray’s death on April 19 left the Baltimore community with many unanswered questions about the relationship between race and police treatment.  The tragic loss of Gray is just one in a line of deaths of black males by white police offices over the past year that has included Michael Brown in Saint Louis, Tamir Rice in New York City, and Eric Garner in New York City.  While there has been a tremendous outpouring of nonviolent vigils and protests, some protests have turned violent.  According to the New York Times, authorities reported that 15 buildings and 144 cars had been set on fire, 235 arrests had been made, and nineteen police officers were injured, all during violent protests and looting Monday night.

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