Dear Members of the Fordham Family,
In the months leading up to today, I heard from many people from a variety of backgrounds who spoke of the deep angst with which they awaited the conclusion of the trial of Derek Chauvin. Finally, at 5:05 this afternoon a Minneapolis jury delivered guilty verdicts on the three charges that were brought against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd. I am sure that many of us felt a deep sense of relief when the verdicts were read. In spite of the fact that the verdicts have been rendered, however, nothing can bring George Floyd back. Therefore, Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones, and all who seek justice and lovingly affirm that Black lives matter still mourn his loss, and will do so for the rest of their lives.
I have spent my adult life consoling people, and I must confess that I still have no words to ease the pain of watching anyone die a slow, unnecessary, agonizing death, much less the pain of watching a family member or loved one suffer such a cruel death. And in this I, we, must recognize the especially deep pain that George Floyd’s murder has inflicted on Black people in this country. If Mr. Floyd’s death sparks a change in the way Black people are policed, and in the way that white people see and respect Black people, that will be the smallest measure of good to come from his murder, and in no way worth the loss of his life. Yet, with other recent police killings, including that of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota—just a few miles from where George Floyd was killed—we know there’s more to be done to achieve full justice. Much more.
I have often said to our community, and to our students, that they should be bothered by injustice. As I acknowledge the great pain and suffering of the University community over Mr. Floyd’s death, I want to acknowledge that that suffering is most deeply felt among the Black members of the Fordham family. I hope that in the wake of this trial we can recognize in one another our common humanity, and the divine spark in everyone we encounter. I pray for justice in this moment, and for healing thereafter. It also reminds me/us of the work of anti-racism that we need to continue to promote forcefully and with full heart here at Fordham.
I pray for you all, every day: May God lessen your pain and grant you some measure of peace. For our nation, I pray that we may find our way to a lasting justice that is based upon our shared humanity.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
140 West 62nd Street, Room G-02
Phone: (212) 636-6225Rose Hill
O’Hare Hall, Basement
Phone: (718) 817-3725
McGinley Center 102
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Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: (718) 817-4500
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 636-6267
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