Spring break ended on a somber note, as news of the terrorist attacks in New Zealand triggered both despair and an unsettling sense of deja vu. The news felt all too familiar, and with reason: Pittsburgh. Charleston. Oak Creek. Quebec City. And now Christchurch. We have been in this place before.
Islamophobia is all too common. Hatred is all too common. And violence is all too common. When these three come together, as they did in the tragedies at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, the result is so shockingly horrific that all of us are forced to take notice. Yet as we mourn the lives so needlessly cut short, we should remind ourselves of the important work we can do here, now, in our own communities.
We can check on our neighbors. We can be good allies to those struggling. We can speak out against prejudice, and we can listen to one another. We can challenge hate by choosing kindness. These choices carry meaning and value every day, but they matter even more in times of grief and sorrow.
Upcoming events will provide an opportunity for reflection and community, and for choosing kindness. I invite you all to join me at these events.
Thursday, March 21, 5:30 p.m., the steps of Rosse Hall
The college chaplains will lead an interfaith vigil recognizing those who lost their lives in the New Zealand attacks. Members of the counseling staff will be present and available to community members who desire support.
Thursday, March 28, 4:10 p.m., Peirce Lounge
The Kenyon Interfaith Partnership will host a student panel, moderated by Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies Royal Rhodes, titled “Religion and Social Justice: Care of Community.” This is an opportunity for members of various religious communities on campus to connect and converse on ways to support and care for one another, particularly in times of crisis and distress.