On September 23, 2020, 201 Days after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by police, a Grand Jury in Jefferson County, KY failed to indite any of the officers for her wrongful killing.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
We are deeply disturbed by the miscarriage of justice that was handed down by the Jefferson County Grand Jury today, September 23rd, 2020. The failure to hold accountable the three officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death is a travesty that exposes, once again, the systemic racism that arises out of a broken legal system. Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s claim that the use of force was “justified” reveals the extent to which the law has served to protect the police, while victims are left without recourse or justice. Today we #sayhername, insist that #BlackLivesMatter, mourn with Louisville and this country, and recommit ourselves to advancing equity and justice at Centre and beyond.
Dina Badie and Shana Sippy
Co-Chairs of the Underrepresented Faculty Council
In response to this miscarriage of justice, Centre's Chaplain Dr. Richard Axtell wrote from the Religious Life Office:
"Today, there is great pain for so many in our campus community, in our state, and in our nation ... pain that carries the unbearable weight of 400 years of racial injustice. Pain, trauma, anger, rage ...
Let us listen to one another, and care for one another compassionately, in these days.
Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous phrase has often been quoted: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." King was borrowing from an 1853 sermon by abolitionist preacher Theodore Parker, who said: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I can not calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see, I am sure it bends toward justice.” Paradoxically, the life work of both men demonstrated that this movement is not inevitable. Former Attorney General Eric Holder made that point when he added “... but it only bends toward justice because people pull it towards justice. It doesn’t happen on its own.”
With the Hebrew prophet, Habakkuk, we find ourselves saying, "How long, O Lord?" The task, of course, is to envision that just world, and to work together to make that dream a reality, pulling with all we’ve got. Today is another reminder that this work is a lifelong tug of war. The arc is long. How long...? How long ...?
During these High Holy Days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, may the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam— "repair of the world"— remind us of the ever-unfinished work that calls us, toward a time when "justice and peace will kiss" (Psalm 85: 10). The two go together and there is not one without the other."
*[I am indebted to Mychal Denzel Smith for the above quotes, Huffington Post, 1/18/18]
We thank Dr. Axtell for his words of comfort and call for justice and action in this difficult time.