Statement by Interim President and Dean Francis Fornaro on Recent National Events

This past week the EDS community has despaired for the victims of renewed violence, racism, and hate in the United States. The senseless killing by police officers of two black men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, MN, followed by the senseless killing of five police officers in Dallas, TX, by a man deluded by hate and fear and determined to extract revenge, is yet another national tragedy for which we all must bear some share of responsibility. Our country is hurting and we hurt along with it. We lament these deaths, we grieve with the victims’ families, and we are angered and saddened by this tired and unending story of hate, violence, and mistrust—all products of the systemic racism and oppression directed against the marginalized so prevalent in our society, our country, and our world.

We at Episcopal Divinity School however believe that, if as God’s children we are charged to preach hope, do justice, and seek transformation, we must truly use our resources and voices as a divinity school to do so. We affirm that black lives matter. We condemn the systemic racism that has resulted in the death, imprisonment, oppression, and marginalization of so many black men and women. We denounce the madness of vigilante violence and murder committed because of fear of the other, or in the name of revenge or warped reparative justice.

We resolve—once again—to think deeply and act boldly in ways that continue to provide women and men with an education founded upon anti-racism and anti-oppression. We resolve to truly live into our role as a formational community of hope, justice, love, and peace. Once again, I invite all students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni/ae, supporters, and the public to join us not only in prayers, but also in active participation as we seek to dismantle systemic racism and oppression in all the ways we can in order to transform our hurting world.

The Very Rev. Francis Fornaro
Interim President and Dean
Episcopal Divinity School