Response to Charlottesville
The Office of Religious & Spiritual Life stands in strong support of President Biddy Martin’s letter to the campus community of August 14, 2017. We too decry the bigotry, racism, and hatred evident at the August 12 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, and mourn the deaths of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berk Bates.
While none of us doubted the persistence of systemic and personal racism, the events in Charlottesville challenged our conviction that history moves consistently toward greater tolerance, inclusion, and mutual respect. Even after all of the hate-filled events of last year, this most recent overt and violent mob display of racism, white supremacy, hatred, and bigotry was still shocking and disheartening.
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, a community that represents many different religious and secular traditions, stands united in our commitment to the dignity, worth, and value of every human life. We believe in, and are committed to working toward, the possibility of social justice, even while recognizing our human weaknesses and flaws. This time calls for each of us to look in the mirror and examine our own conscience, values, and commitments. The members of the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life are ready and eager to respect, listen, and learn from and with others. While we are all learners in this process of developing an inclusive community, each of us has some resources for guidance within our own belief traditions. Any of us are available to meet with individuals or groups if that would be of interest.
May this wake-up call be a turning-point for good in our community and in our nation. There is much work to be done.
Mohammed Abdelaal, M.R.P., Muslim Advisor.
Roger Carrier, M.A., Catholic Advisor.
Cindy Dumais-Holubowich, B.A., Administrative Assistant.
The Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Fisher, S.T.D., Associate Presbyterian Advisor.
JoDeanne Francis, B.A., H.T. Gardner Bi-Semester Christian Worship Coordinator and Associate Advisor for Black Campus Ministries.
Hermenia T. Gardner, M.S., H.T. Gardner Bi-Semester Christian Worship Advisor, Emerita.
Jyl Gentzler, Ph.D., Humanist Advisor.
Christopher Gow, B.A., Associate Advisor to the Amherst Christian Fellowship.
Mark Hart, Ph.D., Buddhist Advisor.
The Reverend Timothy Jones, M.Div., H.T. Gardner Bi-Semester Christian Worship Fellow.
Rabbi Shmuel Kravitsky, Affiliate Advisor to Chabad on Campus.
Elizaveta Lozovaya, M.A., Muslim Advisor.
Rabbi Bruce Bromberg Seltzer, M.A., Jewish Advisor.
Manju Sharma, M.S., Hindu Advisor.
The Rev. Dr. Paul V. Sorrentino, D.Min., Director of Religious & Spiritual Life, Protestant Advisor and the Multifaith Council Advisor.