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Letter From Dean Renée White In Response To The Marathon Bombings

4/18/2013

Participating in the community gathering on Wednesday in Common Grounds, I was reminded of a central truth: Simmons is a community ready to be introspective, offer support, remain inclusive, and work through challenges.  I have witnessed all of those traits and more since the tragic bombing on Monday.  I have seen Simmons students, faculty, and staff build a circle of protection, support and care around each other. Even as we push through sadness, it is heartening to know that we are in such a community.

Amby Burfoot, who won the marathon in 1968 and was prevented from completing the marathon this Monday, shared some powerful thoughts in Runner's World that I would like to pass on to each of you. 

"We have used our public roadways for annual parades, protest marches, presidential inaugurations, marathons, and all manner of other events. The roads belong to us, and their use represents an important part of our free and democratic tradition.

I trust and believe that will not change in the future--not in Boston, not at the Boston Marathon, and not at other important public events. Yes, we must be ever-vigilant. We cannot cover our eyes and ears, and pretend violent acts don't threaten our great institutions.But our institutions did not become great by following a path of timidity and cowardice. And we can only hope that, when pummeled, as the Boston Marathon was today, they will rise again, stronger than ever."

Please know that I do not share this to be trite or jingoistic. We know that there are many in the Simmons community who will struggle to reconcile this violent act with all that the Boston Marathon represents—community, a union of global and local, strength and perseverance, celebration, athleticism, family, joy and so on. We know that three families are suffering the loss of loved ones, and so many more have injured loved ones.  We know that others are living with what they have witnessed. We know that violence is a frightening presence in the lives of many. Yet despite that, let us focus on what we can do each day to negate what such violent acts can do to us as a community and a society.

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