Reflections on Recent Grand Jury Decisions in Ferguson and New York

December 04, 2014

A message from President Helen Drinan

BOSTON (December 4, 2014) — The news reports of the past few weeks have triggered sadness and despair in our Simmons community and in the nation. The recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and in New York City have left many of us confused, distressed, and angry. With these two rulings, the topic of justice in America has taken on a different light.

We grieve collectively for the loss, and for the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others, whose lives have been forever changed by violence. I recognize that many of us are hurting as well and trying to find ways in which to cope with and make sense of these difficult issues. For some, this is another all-too-real example of racial inequality in America and its profound effects on all of us.

I have many questions myself: How can we be assured of safety by those charged to "protect and serve" in light of these terrible losses of life over seemingly insignificant alleged "crimes"? And how can people of color ever expect fair treatment with such high visibility danger to themselves and their children? There are no easy answers.

Perhaps, institutions of higher learning can play a role in answering these questions.
Some have chosen to organize themselves and protest along with others in Boston; many of our Simmons students have led the organizing efforts in the city, and I am very proud of this. Some may choose different avenues to share their grief or anger. Whichever you choose, I implore you not to ignore this difficult topic.

As members of the Simmons community, I hope you take this opportunity to support, listen, and learn from one another. We all have different viewpoints and feelings, but we can share those feelings while still respecting the opinions of others.

Tomorrow at noon, the community is invited to come to Common Grounds to gather and reflect on the impact of these recent events, and to support those in our community who are suffering most. This will be an opportunity to share, reflect, and demonstrate solidarity as a community.