Sam White

By now you must be aware of the declination of the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri to indict Darren Wilson. Yesterday, another grand jury in Staten Island, New York declined to indict police officers involved in the choking death of Eric Garner.

Candler students refuse to remain taciturn.

We cannot study in a school of theology and continue to live and interact daily as if these lives do not matter. As a larger community, we cannot accept the wisdom and presence of civil and human rights leaders such as John Lewis (Commencement speaker) and Jimmy Carter (distinguished professor) and remain reticent in the face of such egregious decisions and outcomes.

We must speak. 

In its identity statements, Candler School of Theology expresses commitment to social justice and to the preparation of leaders to participate in ministries of justice.

We must speak!

In his 1967 speech, “A Time to Break the Silence,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admittedly discovered that “…the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.” Our moral conscience leaves us no other choice.

Be it from the steps of the state capitol in protest, from the asylum of the pulpit, or from the hallowed halls of academia, we must speak. We must not only educate but also advocate to change the structures that affect the human condition. 

Today, Thursday, December 4, 2014, at noon, the Candler Coalition on Racial Equality along with Candler students will demonstrate in the Rudolph Courtyard between Cannon Chapel and Candler School of Theology. I am inviting Candler students, faculty, and staff to participate in a “die-in.” This action is simply a simulation of being dead and has recently been a common tactic used by peace and human rights activists. Students have chosen to disrupt foot traffic in this busy corridor of campus to bring awareness to the important issue of how we assign value to lives in our society and community. We are inviting ALL students and members of the Emory community to meet us in this space and participate. Lying on the ground is not required. There will be many protestors standing and holding signs. We hope that you will join us. #BlackLivesMatterToo 

Read another student's response to the events in Ferguson and New York, and how we might move forward.