A Special Message from Thomas M. Evans, PhD

June 3, 2020

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,


Like so many of us, the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken me to my core. His death, and the deaths of so many other men and women, are grim realities of the inequalities and brutality Black Americans and people of color unjustly endure, which hurts our nation as a whole.

As we grieve, we are also moved to consider what we can do – what we should do – to enact change in our communities and contribute to a more just world. As a community of faith and education, we have a unique charge to illuminate truth and elevate the human dignity of every person. We must do what institutions of higher education do best: we must educate, we must inform, we must encourage open dialogue and appreciate the many perspectives that invites. We must also consider our Mission and reflect on how we can move through the world as concerned and enlightened citizens who serve the needs of humanity.

The University of the Incarnate Word was founded by three Sisters who bravely left their homes a half a world away to answer the call of Bishop Claude Dubuis who wrote, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of the sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands …” Today, UIW continues to answer that call to serve the multitudes of every kind through an emphasis on social justice and Catholic Social Teaching.

That said, we can always improve, listen more closely and consider how to better serve our university community. To that end, I have charged the President’s Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to reconvene and put forth recommendations on how we can improve at UIW and put our faith and the Word into action. Co-chaired by Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, vice president of Mission & Ministry, and Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, provost, this council includes students, faculty and staff from throughout the University working toward making our community even stronger and united as One Word.

As protests were held in our city and in many others, Sr. Walter shared her thoughts and invited us to reflect on this past week's events, “to lament, cry out, and ask God to look on our distress and to show us the way of compassion and mercy, especially as we try to process, mourn, and even peacefully protest the depths of destruction that have been inflicted upon some of our brothers and sisters.”

I pray that though we remain apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are all shown the way of compassion and mercy through unity. I pray that all of those who make up our dynamic community here and around the world are safe and well. I pray that when we encounter those who are not, that we strive to care for them so they may seek relief at our hands.

I leave you with an excerpt and prayer from Racial Justice and the Catholic Church by Fr. Bryan N. Massingale a theology professor at Fordham University in New York. His words spoke to me and I pray they might speak to you as well.

Social life is made by human beings. The society we live in is the outcome of human choices and decisions. This means that human beings can change things. What humans break, divide, and separate, we can — with God's help — also heal, unite, and restore.

What is now does not have to be. Therein lies the hope. And the challenge.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Fill the hearts of your faithful.

Enkindle within us the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit! 

Breath into us a fiery passion for justice.

Especially for those who have the breath of life crushed from them.

Amen.

 

Praised be the Incarnate Word!

Sincerely, 

Thomas M. Evans, PhD
President