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February 15, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – The following statement in response to the tragic gun violence at Michigan State University has been issued by the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Congregation on behalf of all Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The anguish of another devastating act of gun violence in our nation is even more acute when it happens in one’s own home state at a university attended by members of our families and other loved ones, and on the heels of the horrific Oxford High School shooting in Michigan just over a year ago.
We hold the three young people whose lives were so savagely cut short and their grieving families in our hearts and prayer, and pray for the recovery of the five critically injured students. We pray too for the healing of all members of the Michigan State University community who are dealing with the shock and traumatic effects of the assault, and especially for MSU students tragically living through a second experience of mass shootings in their young lives.
Our hearts are shattered by the rising tide of gun violence in our nation, rocking places like our children’s schools which should be sanctuaries of safety and security. There have been 67 mass shootings in our country in just over six weeks of this new year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. No other nation in the world experiences these kinds of mass shootings, made possible by the ease of access to so many weapons. We call on our Michigan State Legislators and on the U.S. Congress to take immediate urgent steps to enact comprehensive gun control laws.
January 31, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Sisters stand in solidarity with the National Black Sisters' Conference and their statement calling for reform of policing practices, greater oversight and accountability by the Justice Department, and “an end to the police brutality that continues to plague Black and poor communities.” Below is the statement by the National Black Sisters Conference.
The New Year is barely a month old. We have just celebrated the national holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the warrior of peace, and the world sadly commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In a few days, we will celebrate Black History Month as we honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans in the struggle for freedom.
Yet here we are again grieving the death of another young Black man, Tyre Nichols, whose life was taken at the hands of five Black police officers on a night in a quiet Memphis neighborhood.
Tyre Nichols' life at the age of 29 was taken before he had a chance to fulfill his purpose. This young man was not a person to be feared or perceived to be a threat. He was a son, father, and contributor to society; respected and loved by all who knew him. His only crime was being Black in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Violence against African Americans has been a fact of life in this country since the first slave patrols were created in the 1700s to apprehend runaway slaves. Historically, the system was designed to institutionalize terror against Black people.
The five Black police officers who brutally took Tyre's life as he cried out for his mother; were indoctrinated into a corrupt system and freely chose to perpetrate violence against other Black people in the name of institutionalized racism.
Unfortunately, police violence is not new. The video of the incident is no different from other police footage, and the only difference is that the majority of the officers are Black!
In speaking to this fact, Mr. Nichols' mother, RowVaugh Wells, stated:
"…And what they are doing to black communities is wrong. We're not worried about the race of the police officers, and we're worried about the conduct of the police officers. Policing in this country is focused on control, subordination and violence…society views black people as inherently dangerous and criminal..."
The National Black Sisters Conference is worried too! When will we wake up as a nation?
How many lives will it take? How often must we bear witness to the senseless killing of African Americans by the police? Where is the collective voice of our religious communities, African American organizations, and Church? The prophet Micah's words speak to what the righteous are called to do: "The just God demands justice!" God demands a change of heart.
As we move into Black History Month, how will we answer a mother's prophetic words on the sad occasion of her son's death? What will we remember? How will this modern-day Black genocide be eradicated? Where do we go from here?
With righteous indignation, we all must act! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writes in his book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? "Freedom is not won by passive acceptance of suffering. A struggle wins freedom against suffering." Let this be our rallying cry for justice!
As the National Black Sisters' Conference, we are demanding JUSTICE FOR TYRE! and calling for:
Immediate passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 by Congress
More progressive oversight and accountability of police departments by the Justice Department
Local and State reform of policing, and
The end to police brutality that continues to plague Black and poor communities
Finally, we call on our Church to speak out in the name of the Gospel. This killing is a pro-life issue that is just as important as protecting the life of the unborn.
Tyre's spirit cries out for justice, and we will continue to stand in the gap, crying out in the name of justice for our people.
United in the struggle for justice,
The National Black Sisters' Conference
January 30, 2023
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council are: Sisters Elise D. García, OP, Prioress; Janice Brown, OP, and Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilors; Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilor.