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Fighting Intolerance Together

      A Letter from Dr. Kurt Landgraf, President,
Washington College, Chestertown, MD

     Following is a letter by Washington College President Dr. Kurt Landgraf to students and faculty. I believe it expresses a fundamental understanding of the extensive impact mass shootings have on individuals and communities and provides straightforward advice and support to help people move forward. It is reprinted here with the permission of Dr. Landgraf.—Chuck Cascio

 Dear Members of the Washington College Community,

     

     Last week, mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 50 people and injured 40 more. Not unlike the horrific killings of 11 innocent people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last fall, and the murder of nine people at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston nearly four years ago, these reprehensible crimes have at their core one fundamental commonality—an amoral and abhorrent intolerance of people’s religious beliefs and cultural traditions. 

 

Aerial view of Washington College, Chestertown, MD.

     None of us can witness or read about these tragedies without feeling fear, anger, and heartbreak. And while it may provide some solace when I write to you expressing my sorrow and shock, there are too many of these horrible examples of intolerance and hate to respond to every one. Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel helpless.

      

     Yet, while messages like this can’t solve the world’s problems, they can galvanize us, as a community of students, educators, colleagues, neighbors, and friends, to pull together as one to fight intolerance whenever and wherever we encounter it. If ever there was a time to “think globally and act locally,” this is it. Every day, we must reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and to working together to find solutions to the very real presence of intolerance, bigotry, and prejudice within our own community. 

     

     Only in this way can our voices rise above the despicable clamor of violence, hatred, and intolerance that struggles to hold sway in so many places across this world.

     

     Note: The piece then lists contact information and locations for anyone at the college or local community who feels they—or someone they know—may need support or counseling.

Copyright: Kurt M. Landgraf, Washington College

Full Disclosure: Kurt Landgraf was my college roommate.--Chuck Cascio