Next week, Wayne State will share our Social Justice Action Committee report to the campus and wider community. I convened the committee in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death in the hope that we could find ways to create a more just campus, and a more just world. Our greatest hope, however, and our ceaseless battle, is to see an end to unjust treatment of people everywhere, whether that injustice is as small as a social slight, or as momentous as a murder.
There is progress toward that vision, but the true realization of that hope remains distant. That was painfully evident this week as we learned of the vicious and lethal attacks in Atlanta that took the lives of eight Americans, including six of Asian descent. As a man with Asian heritage, and as an American who cherishes the beautiful diversity of our country and the right of every person to live without fear, I am deeply saddened. My heart — and, I am sure, the hearts of all of you — goes out to the victims of this senseless violence. I have heard from members of our campus community of Asian heritage, and I assure them — and all of you — that we will remain a campus that lives our values of diversity and inclusion, and values the life of every human being.
People will debate the motive for this act, but it doesn’t matter. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I might humbly add that injustice to any one person is a threat to everyone. Likewise, violence to any particular group is violence to the entire community.
In my campus note prior to the election, I implored us to avoid the temptation to view those different from us with suspicion or contempt. I believe we do that well here, but it doesn’t come with a guarantee. It takes intention and commitment. Even when my hope is tested and tempered by terrible events like those in Atlanta, I remain committed, and I remain hopeful. I ask the same of you.
M. Roy Wilson