By Jackie Jenkins-Scott
As the result of another senseless terrorist attack on thousands of innocent people, we once again find ourselves heartbroken and in mourning. On Friday, in just six short minutes, terrorists systematically and brutally interrupted evening gatherings throughout Paris and a suburban community taking the lives of 138 people and leaving more than 350 injured. Many of those killed and hurt were students including Nohemi Gonzales, a senior at California State University. Professor Michael LaForte described his student as “a shining star.” President Obama words, “the attacks on Paris are an attack on humanity,” expresses the solidarity and compassion that we feel at this sad time. We mourn Nohemi and the many “shining stars” whose lives were cut short all in the name of hate.
Unfortunately, senseless acts of violence have become all too frequent occurrences. Recent events in Syria; Beirut, Lebanon; and the Russian plane potentially downed by an explosive device demonstrate the impact that evil can have on society; but, they also reinforce our shared commitment to making this a more just world. Madonna said it beautifully on Saturday when announcing that her scheduled concert in Switzerland would go on: “There is more goodness in the world and we are here to prove it.” She is indeed correct; there is more goodness in the world, and we must remain committed to proving that goodness will outlive madness and hate.
And we are not immune from the impact of violence and hate right here in the homeland. Each day, across the United States, hundreds of people are killed or maimed as the result of senseless acts of gun violence. I am encouraged by the efforts to address violence and other issues of social justice by people across the country, especially by Wheelock’s students.
I am also heartened by our shared humanity and goodness in times of worldwide natural disasters.
Recent natural disasters in Japan and Mexico brought out an outpouring of support from people around the world. It is inspiring to see the many ways that we show our humanity and live the value that we are indeed our brothers and sisters keepers.
During coming days and weeks, there will be calls for more walls and more isolation. Withdrawal is not the answer for world peace – engagement is the answer. Let us continue to stand together against injustice in the world and here at home as we honor the loss of the precious lives of so many.