Dear APU Community,
In his tireless efforts to advance equality and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Although we have all been appropriately occupied these past months managing COVID-19, I can only imagine that you, like me, have observed the number of disturbing events across the country these past few weeks, especially those reflecting a disregard for Black lives in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Although the most recent tragedies unfolded in Minnesota and Georgia, that pain is demonstrably felt across this nation and throughout our University Community. As your President, and on behalf of the President’s Cabinet and Board of Trustees, we simply are unable to let these incidents go by in silence. We are compelled as Christians and resolved as academic leaders to create a University, and contribute to a society, where all persons feel a sense of belonging and thrive.
To our faculty, staff, and students of color, we acknowledge the pain of this injustice. We value you and Azusa Pacific University will be a place where racism and prejudice are identified and addressed. We remain committed to breaking down barriers, encouraging important conversations, promoting new learning, and taking strides to improve. Our University is a place where the Imago Dei in each person is acknowledged, honored, and respected. This is a commitment we all must own.
In our diverse, Christ-centered Community, we will live out the biblical commandment of loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This biblical premise compels us to stand in solidarity with our neighbors. To live out Micah 6:8, “ . . . And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As we navigate these challenging times together, we lean into our faith and the strength of this Community. We renew our commitment as disciples of Christ to express love to all people while extending care, truth, and hope in a world that desperately needs change.
With you in this work,
Paul W. Ferguson, Ph.D., DABT President