President Spaulding issues statement on racial justice
On June 3, 2020, MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II released the following statement on racial justice:
We have all witnessed in horror the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and, most recently, George Floyd. We mourn as images of pain and anger fill our screens and minds. We recognize, however, this issue is not out there; it is right here. During my eleven years in this campus community, we have engaged in dialogue and sought change, but disappointment and frustration persist on campus. We lament that we often fall short, but we must not and will not abandon the work of racial justice. We stand within the doctrinal and moral convictions of the Church of the Nazarene, which states its position unequivocally:
We renounce any form of racial and ethnic indifference, exclusion, subjugation, or oppression as a grave sin against God and our fellow human beings. We lament the legacy of every form of racism throughout the world, and we seek to confront that legacy through repentance, reconciliation, and biblical justice. We seek to repent of every behavior in which we have been overtly or covertly complicit with the sin of racism, both past and present; and in confession and lament we seek forgiveness and reconciliation. (Manual, 915)
I call upon the MVNU community as a Christ-honoring institution to comfort those who mourn in these days as an expression of Christian solidarity and love for those who have stood on the margins too long. As President, I would like to affirm and call the entire campus to the following:
Acknowledge and lament that our intentions have not always been fully embodied. MVNU is committed to being salt and light in these days as agents of reconciliation on campus and in the world. Our commitment to racial justice arises from the gospel and not any partisan political agenda.
Engender a disciplined and meaningful conversation and decisive action in partnership with our faculty, staff, and students regarding racial justice. We will listen until we understand the anxieties, fears, and pain of our Black students. We will walk with our Black students as we claim the future the gospel promises us, and confess and learn anew when we fall short.
Ensure that our Black students on this campus will be safe as we confront these difficult but necessary issues. Intimidation and discrimination will not be tolerated. We will celebrate our diversity.
Fearlessly and intentionally build relationships with those who are different from us.
Take part in seeking justice when events dictate and become an advocate for our Black students. We will seek and dismantle and rebuild systems that are hospitable to all.
Pray for and work every day to make MVNU a safe environment for Black students.
Let us live with optimism and grace, as we trust the faithful traditions of the gospel and the Church. Let us look with Jesus into the brokenness and envision wholeness. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will descend on this campus to embrace racial justice with honesty, discipline, but above all, with love.
With Optimism and Determined Hope,
Henry W. Spaulding II, Ph.D.
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