The Columbia College family mourns the tragic murder of George Floyd. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, but also to the too many families and friends of men and women lost to unwarranted violence. Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us, yet again, of the unfathomable reality of injustice and inequality, of hatred and racism, and of a country too polarized, too angry, too unforgiving, too divided and too recalcitrant to even listen, much less understand, one another.
For 166 years, Columbia College has been an advocate for social justice, affirming the dignity and worth of each person. We stand in solidarity with the African American community to proclaim that Black Lives Matter and that we must work together to end centuries of racism in our country. Our affiliation with the United Methodist Church prompts us to join our sisters and brothers across the City of Columbia, the State, and our nation in prayers for healing and reconciliation, but also for truth and justice.
As a community dedicated to justice and equality, we have a duty to grapple with the meaning of George Floyd’s death and its ramifications. Then, we need to translate that meaning into action, becoming agents of change to create a more just and humane society. In the words of the prophet Amos, we must work together to “let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
To that end, the College hosted a virtual town hall meeting for the campus community to discuss the event and its aftermath in an effort to discern ways to manage our feelings and to take actions to right wrongs, to build trust, to seek reconciliation, and to affirm our sense of mutuality that binds us together as one nation and one people. A summary of the meeting was posted, which included some specific tasks. The College is asking students, faculty and staff to send additional recommendations for next steps. Our efforts to work together to end centuries of racism in our country align with our mission focus on Social Justice and will be ongoing. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with each of you and especially with the family and friends of George Floyd.
Interim President Peter T. Mitchell