Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends,
I am writing to share with you my thoughts about overcoming the scourge of racism and what we can do to hasten its demise.
Belmont Abbey College will not be silent on the key issues of the day. We will engage the entire community in meaningful dialogue and action. Our conversations will be conducted in mutual respect according to St. Benedict’s admonition that “You must honor everyone and never do to another what you do not want done to yourself” (Rule of St. Benedict 4.8-9). Our actions will be founded on the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth that every human being is created in God’s image and likeness and thus possesses an inalienable dignity.
The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, and countless other acts of violence compels us to do our part to end discrimination and racism in America. Racism and all other forms of unjust discrimination will never be tolerated in our community. Since racism in the United States has been directed especially against Black Americans, Belmont Abbey College will work with the Black members of our community to reinforce the college’s commitment to equality and to learn from their experiences of injustice and racism in our society. We support our Black students, alumni, faculty, staff and benefactors, and stand side by side with our Black brothers and sisters as we work in solidarity to achieve peace, justice, and equality for all.
Prudence demands humble, disciplined, and watchful reason that does not let itself be blinded by prejudices; it does not judge according to desires and passions but rather seeks the truth, even though it may prove uncomfortable. Prudence means searching for the truth and acting in conformity with it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.” We will actively provide an antidote to hate and racism by coming together to better communicate, to know each other on a deeper level, and to love one another as God loves us.
Dr. William K. Thierfelder
President of Belmont Abbey College