The statement below was read on behalf of Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. at a vigil held Nov. 1, 2018 at the UNC Greensboro Campus.
As we gather this evening, we are profoundly saddened by the display of hate, violence, and the loss of life that occurred this past weekend.
A man in Pittsburgh with a history of anti-semitism murdered 11 Jewish people at a synagogue.
A man in Kentucky, with a history of racism, murdered two African Americans at a Kentucky grocery store.
These acts are in absolute terms cause for great sorrow. We honor and remember these lost lives, as well as all victims of hate. We also come together to stand against racism, anti-semitism, intolerance, and bigotry.
There is no place for hate in this world, and there is no place for the violence that hate incites. Discrimination or persecution of any one of us based on our identity or beliefs can only serve to divide all of us.
We find our way to UNCG from all over the state, the country, and the world. We come from a vast array of backgrounds and circumstances. Yet, together, we become part of one Spartan community. This does not mean we hold the same views, because we each have a unique upbringing, an individual perspective, and our own set of social, religious, and cultural beliefs — respect for each other, a belief in the unique value of our colleagues and classmates, a belief in the power of building a diverse and inclusive community. We treasure what makes us human — the capacity to love and connect with one another.
These violent actions seek to destroy these connections, these bonds, these shared values. My hope for each of us is that we carry a message of shared fate, of hope and of action. We must show compassion to those who are suffering. We must build relationships and work together to solve problems.
We have a chance to make an important difference – through our studies, through our service, and through our civic engagement. And this University will continue to support you, and all of our Spartans. This is what our University is all about.
I know that our Spartan values will point us toward a bright future.
Together, we will always, always, overcome violence, ignorance and hatred.
Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.