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We are grieving. This past week, we witnessed heartbreaking and tragic acts of violence and bigotry, driven by hatred and fear, against Jewish and African American members of our community. We saw blatant efforts to harm and intimidate those with opposing political views. We witnessed, as well, attempts to deny the identities of those who are transgender or gender fluid. During yesterday’s interfaith vigil in the chapel, we stood together in witness to the fear, pain, and devastation rippling through our community and especially through the lives of our Jewish friends and neighbors. This fear is known first hand by far too many in our community–people who do not feel safe, valued for who they are, or seen. We must–and do–stand against the forces of hate and violence.
At this time in our nation’s history, every single voice is needed to send the unmistakably clear message that we reject violent and discriminatory acts and the hate that fuels them. Words matter; silence only gives license to the bigotry.
Actions matter, too. So I join Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA (link below), in inviting each of you to reach out to our Jewish friends, family members, colleagues and students, to share our words of care, support, love, and protection. To all those who fear and grieve this day: We see you, we stand with you, and we will not relent in this fight against hatred nor in our commitment to building a world where all are safe and welcome.
Paul C. Pribbenow