Reflecting on Last Week’s Tragedies

Sent Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018

To the Campus Community:

During yesterday’s campus town hall meeting, we observed a period of silence in honor of those killed or wounded in the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.

This attack on our nation’s fundamental right to worship freely and without fear was part of a week that included the shooting deaths of two African American citizens in a shopping area and the delivery of a series of pipe bombs to two former presidents and leaders of our nation’s political and media environments.

The cumulative effect of these sickening acts, taken in tandem with similar crimes and with a coarsening national discourse, demonstrates that there are those who would dehumanize our fellow Americans on the basis of their faith, race, sexual orientation, gender identification, or any other characteristic that these bigots deem as “unacceptable.”

It is disheartening that messages such as these need to be communicated at all. At the same time, I reiterate President Bob Barchi’s sentiments: “Although we come from many traditions, we share a common humanity.” Rutgers University–Camden embraces our shared value of inclusion. We reject the notion that differences based on political beliefs, or religious faith, or skin color, or who we love create inequality. Our country is based on the core principle that all people are created equal, and our that nation is indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Rutgers University–Camden is a place where we can have open and spirited discussion without denigrating and diminishing each other. We are a place that celebrates our differences and that supports one another. Each of us must be prepared to defend the views of our fellow citizens—even, perhaps especially, if those beliefs are not necessarily our own.

As funeral services for those killed in Pittsburgh begin today, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect and, if you choose to do so, to pray in memory of those whose lives were lost, in support of those who were injured, and in honor of our law enforcement officials and first responders. Rutgers Law School will hold a moment of silence to honor the victims of hate in Pittsburgh and Kentucky on the Clark Commons bridge in the Law School Complex at 12:10 p.m. today.

Phoebe A. Haddon, J.D., LL.M.

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