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Response from the President to shooting of Daunte Wright

April 14, 2021

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Dear Saint Mary’s Community,

I write to you with deep sadness and shared pain as our community and all people in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and the nation try to come to terms with another tragic death. The shooting of Mr. Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center during a stop by a police officer earlier this week hits especially close to home. We have students who went to school with Mr. Wright; colleagues and alums who may know the families of all those involved; students, friends, family and coworkers who live in Brooklyn Center and surrounding areas. This and other recent incidents have, for many, exacerbated feelings of hopelessness, fear, anger, and anxiety.

These are truly heartbreaking times. Sadly, there have been too many of these moments to count and yet we are called to create greater unity and to build a more inclusive community, where diverse voices are valued and heard. While it is not possible to respond with a statement for every injustice, we respond to all injustice through our faith and the belief that all people must be afforded equal dignity and all forms of unjust discrimination must be condemned.

As we grieve and pray for all those affected by the death of Mr. Wright, I invite you to focus on those virtues that form the basic rights for all including justice, prudence, understanding, courage, and temperance. Our care and support for each other will propel us as we collectively work to build a more just world in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and our Lasallian Catholic Heritage.

Saint Mary’s University believes that all people are created in God’s image. We believe that Christ’s redemption is for everyone.  We are committed to advancing equality, celebrating inclusion, creating belonging and striving for compassion, care and respect. We believe we can achieve a future full of hope.

God bless you.

Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D.