Dear Siena Community,
Before I begin with the information that I will share here, I want to acknowledge the harsh realities and pain many of us are experiencing, especially our sisters and brothers of color. As a woman with white privilege, I do not have the lived experience of racism that many of you do. But, I do want you to know that all of you who are experiencing deep anguish matter to me and matter to our community.
On Monday evening, I sent a letter to the Siena community. Many have reached out to me, president-elect Dr. Gibson, and to the College on social media expressing a desire for action and change for racial justice at Siena. I am inspired by your longing for justice and proud that you are using your voices to stand up for what is right. While real systemic change will require a sustained effort and coordination among many people at the College, there is an urgency to act now and I want you to know that we are doing that.
Yesterday, in a Zoom Town Hall with over 300 faculty and staff, we held silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. We listened to the silence to honor George Floyd’s life and legacy, and to acknowledge that his death was yet another travesty in a long line of such horrors. Let me be clear: Black Lives Matter. On Monday at 4:30 p.m., the friars will lead a prayer service for peace, justice and humility. It will stream live on the College’s Facebook page. Fr. Mark Reamer, O.F.M. will share more details in this weekend’s Daily Digests.
Today, I would like to share some resources that will help us all to listen and learn. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but is representative of ideas put forth by so many of you who have reached out. This is simply a starting point as we work to support the most vulnerable members of our community with integrity and compassion.
Our Franciscan tradition calls us to justice and peace. I encourage all members of our community to begin the work of justice by reading, dialoguing and compassionately engaging in the world as Saints. We will of course be continuing this important conversation on race, and as always, the College welcomes your thoughts and input.
The 1619 Project, The New York Times Magazine
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” , Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
How To Be An Antiracist, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
White Like Me, Tim Wise
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
1619, New York Times
Code Switch, NPR
Dear White People, Netflix
If Beale Street Could Talk, Hulu
Just Mercy — Warner Bros. has made this free to rent. It’s available on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play
The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
Register to Vote (or check your registration) at Vote.gov
Send an email or letter to your elected officials (Find yours at Vote.gov)