The following letter was written and sent on Friday to the student body of Morehouse College in Atlanta by the school's president John Silvanus WIlson Jr., in response to this week's violence, which stretched across three cities and took the lives of five police officers and two Black men.
To my Morehouse sons:
The social climate across America is tragically disturbing. It is not hard for us to imagine that recent events have caused you to personally confront a set of raw emotional questions about where you fit and how you can survive the current state of our nation. As a Man of Morehouse, you have chosen to work hard and excel academically in order to have the life that is promised by America. But the pathway to success probably feels different now compared to last week, given the recent tragedies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas.
With this letter, I encourage you to endure the recent disruption to your standard summer activities, including your internships, family gatherings, travel and renewal. Keep your heads and your hearts in balance. Look toward the future and strive to be a man of acuity, integrity, agency, brotherhood and consequence. By doing so, you will find your own individual blueprint to change and unite our country. That is why your lives matter.
And, moreover, this: Black men have managed to survive and remain remarkably productive throughout the slave trade, post-Civil War atrocities, the Civil Rights Movement and so many other challenging periods in the life of this nation — and yet, like the great Morehouse College established 150 years ago, we are still standing as strong men of peace and justice!
My love goes out to each of you. Be mindful, be safe and be constructive. And we will see you next month.
Onward and Upward,
John Silvanus Wilson Jr. '79