Dear Willamette community,
With deep heaviness of heart, I write to you regarding the recent, tragic shootings that have occurred this month in our nation. Already, there have been reports of 198 mass shootings in the United States this year, including the recent hate crimes in Laguna Woods, California, and Buffalo, New York.
In Laguna Woods, a man attacked the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church during their after-church banquet. Characterized by authorities as a politically motivated hate crime against the Taiwanese community, this man murdered one man and wounded five people.
In Buffalo, a man opened fire at a supermarket with the intention of murdering Black Americans. Thirteen were shot, of which ten were murdered in this racially motivated massacre.
Please, let us hold these victims, witnesses, and their families in our hearts.
Let us continue to reject all forms of violence, and especially that which is rooted in hatred, and laced in a fear of loss of power, privilege, and undue entitlement. We must ask ourselves: what must die so this violence may cease? What systems must end? May we continue to reject injustices and structures grounded in white supremacist, racist, fascist, tyrannical ideologies.
I personally invite you to continue to address these systemic injustices locally, nationally, and globally by joining our programming aimed at social justice in the coming year. We will expand our programming around reckoning with racism locally, and we will address the global dangers of nuclear weapons and autocracy through our work with the Annual Salem Peace Lecture, to name a couple opportunities.
For all of those who grieve and carry heightened anxieties for your own safety and wellbeing after these incidents, I am here for you. Please reach out at email@example.com.