We see the flood, a vast river of human need washing across borders, over walls, under fences, coming out of the desert so parched and thirsty for safety, for freedom, for justice.
We listen to the ancient words of God’s covenant with Noah, hearing the imperative to end the destruction, to create the necessary conditions for human life to flourish. We ask what the covenant expects of us in this modern age so infected with racial hatred.
Truth and Justice.
The covenant compels us to speak the truth, to confront injustice.
The truth is that no human life is less than another simply for want of a piece of paper, or because of nationality or language or skin color. The truth is that every human being has fundamental rights to life, to freedom, to economic and educational opportunity.
Justice demands that those of us who already enjoy these rights be passionate advocates for those whose rights are denied.
We advocate for Dreamers, immigrants and refugees, persons of color whose rights and freedom, whose very lives are at risk. Solidarity requires us to share our talents to relieve their fear, to ensure their safety, to give witness to their dignity and worth.
This moment in our nation’s history seems like a desert devoid of compassion, of essential humanity, of care for the most vulnerable. We risk the withering of our moral sensibilities. We pray for the strength of social renewal.
Faith compels us: we believe that we can, we must break forth to release those bound unjustly in a system that leaves them hungry, thirsty, homeless, oppressed.
Our fidelity to the covenant unmasks our light, illuminating the pathway to greater dignity, to hope and freedom for those who have been too long in the shadows.
Patricia McGuire has served as president of Trinity Washington University since 1989. By reaching out to the black and Hispanic women of Washington, she helped rebuild the dying college into a multifaceted university that serves as an example of how to successfully widen collegiate access and welcome students who have lived on the margins, predominantly students of color. McGuire holds a law degree from Georgetown University and previously served as the project director for the Georgetown Street Law Clinic. She was ISN’s 2017 Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award honoree.