Thoughts & Prayers: For The Victims of Violence in Our Nation

TO: Gonzaga Community
FROM: Thayne M. McCulloh, President and Robin Kelley, Chief Diversity Officer
SUBJ: Thoughts & Prayers: For The Victims of Violence in Our Nation
DATE: May 16, 2022

This past week and weekend, our nation has once again been shocked by incidents of mass murder, horribly tragic events that have taken numerous precious lives. At least some of these incidents appear to be pre-meditated killings motivated by racist hatred. While investigations are ongoing, the mass shooting at a tightly knit, community supermarket in Buffalo, NY clearly appears to have targeted Black Americans. The owners and patrons of several Asian American-owned businesses appear to be the target of a racist murderer in Dallas.

Together with the shooting at the Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California, these constitute just the latest in a series of terrible crimes. We grieve for the innocent victims who have died or been injured in these attacks. And we mourn with their families, friends and co-workers.

As Americans and as members of the Gonzaga University community, we cannot – we must not – become numb to incidents such as these. We cannot accept violence as acceptable; we cannot accept racism and bias as tolerable elements of our communities and broader culture.

Incidents such as these call for a renewed commitment to doing what is necessary to end hate-filled violence. We join with others here in Spokane and communities across the nation in mourning the tragic loss of life caused by these savage acts. As a Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic university we are committed daily to the work of ending discrimination, injustice and hate, and supporting those who labor in service to this cause. I believe all people of goodwill are united in their belief that every human being has the right to live in an environment that is free of violence – and free of the fear that hatred-fueled violence could result in the unimaginable loss of their child, their spouse, their partner, their parent or friend.

I ask that the Gonzaga Community please join with me in remembering all those affected by these terrifying incidents of premeditated murder. Let us also remember to pray for those in law enforcement and security services who work daily to make our communities safe. We honor the courage that retired Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter, Jr. showed this past Saturday, when he confronted the gunman in the grocery store’s parking lot. Mr. Salter died while attempting to stop the gunman, who was equipped with body armor and armed with an assault rifle. We give thanks for first responders and medical personnel who serve so selflessly to aid those who have been injured and impacted in incidents such as these.

Our Gonzaga mission urges us to act wherever we can to fight racism and injustice. Dr. Kristine Hoover, Director of the Gonzaga Center for the Study of Hate (GCSH), invites us to download a new publication from the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, “A Community Guide for Opposing Hate,” to learn more about what individuals can do to actively counter hateful activity. Members of the community are invited to participate in an accompanying free webinar Tuesday, May 17, at noon Pacific.

Join the webinar on Tuesday, May 17 to learn more about what individuals can do to counter hateful activity.

Together, and every day, we must work to recognize, address and stop racism and hate. As we process and grieve these most recent events, please know that there are resources available through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Gonzaga’s Mission Integration team as well as our Center for Cura Personalis are also available to offer spiritual support and individual counseling.