UMD Chaplaincies Statement on Racial Justice & Call to Action

Together, with our diverse interfaith voices, we stand in solidarity with all Black and Brown people, and deeply care about their well-being.

While there are diverse topics of advocacy within the Black Lives Matter Movement, of which faith traditions may hold different beliefs, we unambiguously stand united in the message that Black Lives Matter.

From a posture of humility, we speak out of conscience, and the moral and ethical urgency of this moment.

We are appalled at the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks. Each was a beautiful child of God.  We weep and lament with their families, the nation, the world.

We continue also to mourn the tragic murder of Lt. Richard Collins which occurred on our campus in 2017.

We have deep compassion for the trauma, pain, anguish, suffering, anger and harm caused by these deaths and the centuries long brutal history of white supremacy in our country. These horrific murders are expressions of the evils of racism, and are violations of the universal calls within the world’s wisdom traditions:

To love God and our neighbor; and to see and live in a way that acknowledges ALL people are God’s children, created equally in the image of the Divine.

White supremacy and racism are directly opposed to God and God’s intentions for humanity to flourish in harmony and peace. As stewards of God’s creation, collectively we are failing miserably through racist expressions of inhumanity.

Spiritual traditions have often played a vital role in inspiring people to repent from sin; make amends for wrongs committed; grow in love, compassion and moral understanding; act for social justice; and in bringing about healing and reconciliation with God and humankind.  Our traditions speak hope to the long suffering, and promise God’s justice and freedom for the oppressed.

We commit to ongoing reform and antiracist work in our religious institutions and communities.

Our interfaith voices humbly seek forgiveness and long to make amends for any past or present perpetuation of racism.  This acknowledgment, along with ongoing acts of enlightened repentance, are critical for the possibility of deep healing and reconciliation to occur.

We collectively believe that effective lasting change will require legislative and educational changes (e.g., history books); soul searching and transformations of hearts and minds. Collectively we are summoned to listen, to listen to one another and to God; to advocate, and build relationships; to hear the unique ways each of us alone and together are called to act.  Especially white people are being called to take responsibility for finding new ways to be in relationship with people of color; to own white privilege, and to share power.

We call on ourselves, our campus, our communities, nation and world, to protect Black lives; to work towards non-violence, equity, healing and reconciliation through long term actions that will dismantle social, structural and systemic racism; and to seek the healing so desperately needed for ourselves and others.

We stand in solidarity with all people urgently working to transform a culture that for too long has promoted white superiority.

We fervently pray for God’s help and wisdom at this hour, and that this will be a time of holy transformation, profound change for our campus, nation and world.  Towards this end, collectively we dedicate ourselves to these actions, with each chaplaincy focusing on actions each feels called to embody:

  • Attending #UMDSolidarity events
  • Partnering with ODI, MICA, social justice organizations, Division of Student Affairs, and other campus groups to offer anti-racist events through facilitated conversations, trainings, workshops, community service.
  • Supporting Anti-Racist & Hate-Bias Training opportunities for students 
  • Offering discussion groups on anti-racism
  • Offering Interfaith and Denominational spaces for listening, learning and responding
  • Being a continuing, responsive resource for students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland.

On June 23rd, UMD Chaplaincies joined with College Park Faith Communities for the College Park Interfaith Vigil – Black Lives Matter and Prayer Chain (lasting 8 hours and 46 minutes) to publicly grieve with the community and provide spiritual solace, hope and call to action.

The Rev. Sarah Akes-Cardwell, Episcopal Anglican Campus Ministry and Episcopal Terps

Cristin Cooper, Ministry Coordinator, and Rev. Michelle Mejia, United Methodist Chaplain, with Terp Hub (Methodist Campus Ministry)

Jennifer Eidson, Advisor, Christian Science Organization

Rev. Conrad Murphy (Chaplain), Lisa Lytwyn and Matt Aujero (Campus Ministers), University of Maryland Catholic Student Center

Pastor Ray Ranker, Lutheran campus ministry and the humble walk

Rev. Dr. Haywood Robinson, Chaplain, and O’Brien Wimbish, Assistant to the Chaplain, Black Student Ministries  

Rev. Kiran Sankhla, Hindu Chaplaincy   

Mrs. Jessica Senasack, Baptist Campus Ministry

Imam Tarif Shraim, Muslim Chaplaincy, UMD

Rev. Holly Ulmer, United Campus Ministry {PC(U.S.A.), UCC, Disciples of Christ]

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