News Archive

Nazareth President Braveman and incoming President Paul respond to recent incidents of racism

Published June 01, 2020

Dear Nazareth Community;

We watched with horror and disgust the video of a Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed and held to the ground for over eight minutes with a knee to his neck while other officers watched. This killing came in the wake of the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man out for a run in Georgia. Then, while not involving a killing, there was the recent incident in Central Park where a white woman called the police because Christian Cooper, a black man who was bird watching, asked her to put her dog on a leash as required by Park rules. She called the police claiming that an African American man was threatening her. These recent incidents of intentional racism occurred against the backdrop of the structural racism that reveals itself in the disproportionate COVID-19 illness and death rates among people of color.

These events are further reminders of the depth of racism that confront the black and brown fellow members of our communities. They, of course, are not isolated occurrences but rather part of a continuing history of racism, and we know that such racial violations result in lasting trauma, not only for the immediate victims and their families but for all people who are potential targets. Moreover, racist behavior and rhetoric weaken our collective humanity.

Along with the apocalyptic challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, we must face the challenges of racism and white supremacy. We need to be that much more intentional about connecting across difference and division, enlarging rather than diminishing our humanity.

While we may not be able to effect change in Minneapolis, Georgia or New York City, we can address racialized behavior in our own communities, including our Nazareth community. This past semester the incident of blackface was another stark reminder that we have much more work to do. Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel observed that in the face of evil, silence and indifference are the greatest sins. Let us not remain silent because ours is a community dedicated to supporting one another in pursuit of justice. Nazareth is committed to taking the action necessary to create a more just, inclusive and welcoming community for all our members. Let us not remain silent but work together to confront and eradicate all forms of racism in ourselves, our community and society.

Sincerely,

Daan Braveman

President, Nazareth College


Beth Paul


Incoming President, Nazareth College

For More Information

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Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.