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Racial Violence in America: A Message from President Beck A. Taylor and Chief Diversity Officer Lorna Hernandez Jarvis

May 30, 2020
Dear Whitworth community,
There is a deadly epidemic in our country. Unlike the coronavirus, this sickness isn’t novel, but as we’ve been reminded in recent weeks, it’s just as deadly.

We write today to unequivocally denounce the sin of racism that continues to plague our nation, our community, and our campus, and we ask every member of the Whitworth family to reflect upon ways we can contribute to a more just, equitable, and humane society. We also ask that Whitworthians pray for the victims of racial violence, their families, and their communities as they grapple with the deadly consequences of injustice.

The recent video of Amy Cooper in New York’s Central Park highlights the result of unchecked white privilege, and the senseless and brutal killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are gruesome reminders that racial injustice is real and deadly.

As Whitworth’s Christ-Centered Rationale for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion states, “The gospel resists every form of ideological thinking that conflates the will of God with our own interests and agendas. The sovereign love of the Spirit of God frees us to confess our complicity in structures of injustice and oppression, to become generous conversation partners, to welcome and learn from those who are different from us, and to take comfort in the knowledge that we love because God first loved us.”

As Whitworthians, we cannot fully honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity if we stand by while our brothers and sisters of color are treated in unjust and cruel ways. This includes being silent when we see oppression and unjust structures, practices, and behaviors. We encourage each of us to speak up, speak out, and demand that every person be treated with the respect they deserve as children of God, created in God’s image. We encourage all members of our community to engage in education, learning, and advocacy that will help us eliminate these inequities.

We do well to remember in these painful times that, as our rationale statement reads, “Christians bear witness to the mystery of Christ in words and actions. We seek reconciliation across all the boundaries that divide us because Christ reconciles sinners to God and has broken down the dividing wall that separates people and communities from one another. We seek peace because Christ is our peace and calls his people to be a community of peace. We seek justice because Christ is our justice and calls his people to do justice.”

We urgently call upon all members of the Whitworth community to seek God’s wisdom and discern the ways each of us can repent from the sin of racism, and to identify actions we can take today to create a just and inclusive community.

In the Whitworth spirit,
Beck A. Taylor | President
Lorna Hernandez Jarvis | Chief Diversity Officer