Inequality and injustice must end
7/30/2020, 6 p.m.
The most recent acts of evil that brought about innocent deaths of Black people due to police brutality and white racism compel the faculty of School of Theology at Virginia Union University, or STVU, to condemn these acts in the strongest possible way. We will continue to do what is necessary for our students by empowering them to do justice in the Black community and beyond.
The focus of STVU emerged out of the Black church and Black liberation theology and the ongoing struggle for the freedom, dignity and self-determination of Black people. The School of Theology’s faculty adopted the hermeneutical lens of the “Middle Passage” to prioritize our focus on justice and freedom. STVU is the locus where African-American men and women can enter critical dialogue, hone their hermeneutical suspicion and shape models of ministry for Black people’s social, economic and spiritual/ physical freedom. We have been the premier African-American theological institution in the mid-Atlantic region and the American South. Understanding this legacy is essential in the current climate of pandemic and protest, terrorism and white racism toward Black people.
Hatched in the vortex of untold human suffering, Virginia Union University has endured more than 155 years of struggle. To be clear, the struggle is not merely a struggle for citizenship and against the second class, subhuman status assigned by colonizers, but the struggle is to be treated as human beings. Furthermore, it is to dismantle the insidious ideology embedded in the narrative of Western history and philosophy.
This racist ideology of white supremacy undergirds every aspect of society. It so permeates our social intercourse that many Black people and white people are in denial of its presence and unaware of its dangerous destruction.
In light of historical injustices toward people of African descent, the global pandemic disproportionately affecting Black people, and the increasing cases of rabid police brutality and white supremacy, the faculty of STVU registers its concern and calls for the transformation of human hearts and minds to bring about a more just social order.
VUU was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Since its founding, justice and the eradication of oppression in any form have been its mandate.
With this noble purpose and mission at the very core of its being, we have been guided by the minds and spirits of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology in its intentional and consistent protest against the complex issues produced by systemic racism and white supremacy.
Historically, we have been the voice of protest against unjust policies, oppressive laws and the cultural mindset that seeks to silence free speech, destroy diverse perspectives and eradicate those who promote justice in the face of tyranny and evil.
George Floyd’s murder by the state, i.e., the police in the street in broad daylight and in plain sight, was meted out by the hand of white supremacy. His murder was an act of extreme police brutality and the result of a system of racism and evil. The 8 minutes and 46 seconds of his public execution demonstrates the reality that Black life is arbitrarily subject to death at any time and for any or no reason at all in this system.
As we have witnessed the recent murders of Mr. Floyd, Brionna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and others, we are reminded, yet again, that we must fight against systemic racism and the culture it has created.
As the faculty of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, we call for an end to inequality and injustice wherever it is found. We condemn the existing oppressive practices and ideologies that continue to lead to the deaths of Black men and women.
DR. JAMES HENRY HARRIS
DR. PATRICIA GOULD-CHAMP
On behalf of the faculty of the Graduate School of Theology, Virginia Union University
Dr. Harris is chairman of the faculty at STVU. Dr. Gould-Champ is an associate professor.