Rest In Peace, George Floyd
Madison, Wis. (May 28, 2020) – The following email was sent this morning to the students, faculty, and staff of Edgewood College.
This has been an eventful week for Edgewood College, with the return of additional employees to campus for the first time in two months. It is gratifying to see life return to campus. This is also a time of transition, with both myself and President-elect Andrew Manion on campus, working together to prepare for the transfer of leadership this weekend.
Yet amidst the feelings of optimism and preparation for our next chapters, we have been once again shaken by an injustice that needs to be addressed.
We’re saddened and angered by the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night – suffocated by a police officer as he lay on the ground in restraints begging for his life. We’re struggling with how we should talk about this tragedy—this outrage—with the Edgewood College community, especially our community members of color. When an African American is killed by a police officer, our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice compel us to speak. Our Sinsinawa Dominican roots and Catholic identity demand that we reaffirm our community, that we stand with our African American sisters and brothers. This angers us, too. George Floyd’s life mattered. His death hurts us all, but it hurts the people of color within our community more.
We recognize that our nation, our society, has to do better than this. We have asked our sisters and brothers of color to be patient for too long. And we recognize that those of us who have not had to experience this kind of oppression and injustice have not worked hard enough to end it.
We believe that, as the Edgewood College community, we must recommit ourselves to peace and to justice. We must be a living example of how a community cannot be satisfied with mere diversity, but must work every day to be genuinely inclusive. We recognize that we have work to do, and we must hold ourselves to the highest standards.
During the next few months, we will be working on that re-commitment as we reorganize the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion functions. While doing this will result in better communication and greater coordination of our inclusiveness agenda, these things will not be enough by themselves to transform our culture into the model of community and social justice that our mission and values demand of us. We are, each one of us, accountable to our sisters and brothers.
Together, let us be the leaders that our society needs. Let us honor our founders by living our values. Let us honor the memories of George Floyd and others unjustly taken from us by setting the standard for civility, mutual respect, and love.
Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P., Ed.D.
Andrew P. Manion, Ph.D.