The following message is from Michael Goh, Vice President, Office for Equity and Diversity.
Once again, we stand witness to the most recent mass shooting in New Zealand that claimed the lives of 49 people as they gathered peacefully in prayer. At our University, we hear the call to go beyond the extension of thoughts and prayers in response to this all too common pattern of violence against groups based on their identities.
Nonetheless, my heart pains for those affected directly by the loss of loved ones, friends, and colleagues in New Zealand. It aches as well for those here closer to home and around the globe who are grieving for the senseless loss of life.
This attack was directed explicitly toward Muslims and the Muslim community. At our University we condemn Islamophobia, racism, bigotry and violence in all forms. To dismantle the systems that allow hatred to flourish, we must take action in addition to extending our thoughts and prayers to victims.
Each one of us can commit to learning more about those who are different from us. Each one of us can commit to behaving in ways that embody kindness. Each one of us can commit to engaging in a collective effort to be and do better in confronting bias.
Our University can continue to provide space for education that addresses all forms of hatred. Our University can continue to work towards ensuring that our community is one where everyone can feel safe, both physically and psychologically. Indeed, our University can work to promote systems that support, encourage and endorse the constructive expression of differences and the ability to hear such expressions of difference in a non-defensive way.
Together, we can and we must continue to counter hatred in all its forms so that we can work collaboratively to ensure a more peaceful future.