In May, following the killing of George Floyd, I wrote: “to sustain our democracy, and enact our shared values of freedom, prosperity, equality, safety, and a brighter future for our children, we must solve our problems collaboratively.” I repeated this sentiment on the eve of the 2020 election. And I reiterate it again today.
Not only does the attack on the Capitol cut deeply into the soul of who we are, but the inequity in the response to and treatment of the rioters, juxtaposed against the much more forceful action by authorities we witnessed earlier in the year, simply begs the question: How committed are we to equal justice for all? This necessarily means that we must engage in a critical reflection and deep examination of what we stand for as a nation.
Even as we condemn the assault on our democracy on Jan. 6, we must look ahead to how we heal our communities and our country. We must contemplate our unique role in that process. Universities are crucial to this shared endeavor – places where civil discourse, thoughtful debate, and real problem-solving can occur. This accrues to the benefit of us all. I look forward to a spring semester where we come together in this spirit and do the hard work necessary to help heal this country spiritually, socially, and morally. I have deep faith in the American project. Truth and freedom will ultimately prevail.