Reflections on Dallas, St. Paul and Baton Rouge
The President’s Corner
Dear William James Community:
It seems as if there is a call for a note like this with increased and exhausting frequency.
The front pages of our newspapers carry the horrible story of the overnight shootings in Dallas. This incident left three officers dead and eight hurt. These officers were protecting people during a rally expressing grief and frustration around the fatal police shootings in St. Paul and Baton Rouge. The news this morning brought appeals for action on many fronts: better training for police officers around incident de-escalation and conflict reduction, increased investment in race relations and a commitment to the value of all lives. As a son of a career police officer and nephew and cousin of several others, I was personally saddened by this senseless event. As one who is moved by the seemingly common horrors of hate-speech and acts in this country, I was more troubled.
A moving piece by the movie reporter, Ty Burr, in the Boston Globe articulates, better than I can, the sense of frustration and helplessness that these outrageous events continue to bring to us. In the end, he calls, as we have at William James College, for individuals to pay close attention to the bad news lest it just continue, and for us to make an individual commitment to make a difference in whatever way an individual can. Social change, he argues, requires us to pay attention to what is ugly and horrible and to get into the stream rather than only expressing outrage.
Our commitment at William James College is to create an accepting, supportive and safe community as we all find our way to make that difference. I know that we will take a moment today to remember the families of those who have been injured or killed in Dallas, St. Paul, Baton Rouge and in communities across our country where hate, rather than respect has intruded itself again.