Message of support for Emanuel AME Church

The shooting in the Emanuel AME Church last week has affected our nation deeply. We at Cornell join people across the country, regardless of faith, race, political affiliation and other distinctions, in continuing to feel profound sadness. We are dismayed that once again our nation has seen the tragic result of racism and intolerance, mixed with violence.

Starting before the Civil War, Mother Emanuel church has embodied strength in the face of racial persecution by surviving laws against black worship, a devastating fire set by a white mob and the execution of a church founder and other members for planning a slave revolt. The present congregation has inspired us by its determination to look forward and hold its Sunday service, despite the violent killing of nine spiritual leaders and mentors.

Like the resilient and determined congregations of Mother Emanuel and neighboring Charleston churches, we must resolve to combat bigotry and racism whenever we encounter them. Cornellians have the power to fight ignorance, racism and gun violence with all the tools of a university community committed to diversity, empathy and rationality, including through individual acts of compassion and commitment, demonstrations of our community's values, and efforts to educate others and ourselves about tolerance and understanding through academic engagement. We can draw upon expertise across this university to gain multiple perspectives on history, society, law, race and more. By affirming our core values and acting on them throughout our lives, we can help our nation move forward.

As we actively endeavor to reduce racism and violence, let us celebrate the lives and accomplishments of those who were killed, and remember what they mean to South Carolina and the nation.

Elizabeth Garrett