PSA: A Letter from the Niebuhr Center to Elmhurst College
Friends, the election has stirred up a variety of reactions across the nation. Some are outraged, some are rejoicing, some are terriffied for their lives. Some are protesting, some are holding rallies, some are committing hate crimes. Some of these actions have perpetuated and increased the presence and vocalization of white supremacist rhetoric. White supremacy is the belief that “the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” White supremacy has always been present in the United States. In fact, this week we’re “celebrating” a holiday that commemorates the white European immigrant conquest of Native peoples and their land.
The Niebuhr Center is dedicated to meaningful reflection that seeks deeper understanding of self and others as well as the implications of our words and actions. As a college we are “committed to cultural diversity, mutual respect among all persons, compassion for others, honest and open communication and fairness and integrity in all that we do. We are also mindful of humanity’s interdependence and the dignity of every individual, we are committed to social justice on local, national and global levels.” We commit to “act on our social responsibilities and call others to do the same.”
No matter who you voted for in the election, it cannot be denied that hate crimes toward minorities have increased since the election results came in. This proves to us, again, that the civil rights movement isn’t over. Racism is not a thing of the past. Justice has not yet come.
Peoples’ lives are in danger. These are very real realities. Do you know that we are capable of love greater than this? That we are called to be each other’s neighbor? That if we work together, we will succeed? We have a lot of work to do before we are able to work together in a way that is respectful of each other and our histories.
So this is the call to action. White students, staff , faculty, administration, and alumni: take a look at the resources below. Do your homework. Educate yourself. Listen to your friends and colleagues of color. Learn how we, as a country, still purport white supremacy as a part of our narrative. Then ask your friends what they need. Ask how you can be supportive of them. If we don’t do this work now, we will only become a more divided country. If you need support in processing the materials or would like to have a conversation, Professor Haq and I are more than willing.
To students, staff , faculty, and administration who are feeling scared and uncertain because of who you are in the world: please know that we seek to provide a safe space in the Niebuhr Center for all of you. We are available for further conversation, support, and resources. We are here for you.
Thank you for reading this all the way through. I look forward to the work we can do together on campus and in the world.
Rev. Emily Labrecque and Prof. Inam Haq