A Message from the President: Charlottesville

Posted: August 14, 2017

Dear APU Community,

Some tragic circumstances call for reverent silence and thoughtful reflection. Others do not. Over the weekend, in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist, neo-Nazi, pro-Confederate, and alt-right demonstrators clashed with counter protesters and a car plowed into a crowd, killing 1 and injuring 19 others. This loathsome situation demands a response. Silence is complicit. Such hate, bigotry, and evil have no place in our country, in our neighborhoods, or on our campus.

The scenes unfolding in Charlottesville reveal a dark underbelly of sentiment more than two hundred years old. I cannot cast off what has unfolded as isolated incidents. White supremacists descended on a city to wreck havoc and hurt people. They did. They also reveal the work that must be done. We must resolve to press forward and bring the change so desperately needed.

I pray for wisdom and discernment, but I will not be silent and we must figure out a path forward that acknowledges that there are those out there who think people who are different from them are less than. They are not. The image of God lives in all His children. My thoughts and actions must demonstrate this day in and day out. My commitment to this grows in the face of this violence and the fear they hoped to stir.

As a Christ-centered university, Azusa Pacific stands at the foot of the cross in love of God and neighbor—all the people of God. Though I do not have the answers, I know we cannot do this work in isolation. This campus community will be a place where respect and love stamp out every vestige of sentiment that fails to acknowledge the imago dei of every member of our community, of every neighbor we meet, of each person we encounter. What more do we need to gather at the table and commit to true participation in God’s redemption of a broken world? How can we bring to bear the change our world needs and this country needs? How can we show up, stand up, speak up, and do what must be done?

As our semester begins, we will be looking for opportunities for discussion, for conversation, for prayer, and for action.

Shalom,

Jon
____________________

Jon R. Wallace, DBA
President
626-812-3031 I apu.edu
Micah 6:8; Acts 2:42-47