Students Gather Virtually to Discuss Racism, Injustice, and Discrimination

On Monday, June 1, a group of students gathered on Zoom to discuss the murder of George Floyd and the protests and civil unrest that has followed. The students--mostly members of the Peace Club and the ONYX Club--were joined by faculty members Ms. Katherine Murphy and Mr. Devon Leary.

"The meeting went for nearly two hours," said Ms. Murphy. "The kids wanted to talk." The discussion ranged from aggressive police tactics to violence in protests to understanding and acknowledging white privilege. Mr. Leary shared some of his own personal experiences of being at protests--including witnessing violence and vandalism.
 
The group discussed the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: "A riot is the language of the unheard." With that quote in mind, Ms. Murphy, who teaches social justice at Gonzaga, asked the students to think about what is it that America has failed to hear?
 
Adam Wojciak pointed out that MLK worked to decrease violence in protests, but also focused on the root cause of riots: injustice. This MLK quote also resonated with the students: "In a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention."
 
Mr. Leary, Gonzaga's Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Life, added that at the end of the meeting the boys decided to order "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts--they are black with purple letters and will have AMDG printed on the back. "It was really beautiful to see both of these clubs come together for this vitally important discussion," he said.
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