Dear Chapman community,

Our hearts are deeply saddened and we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters  in the wake of the horrible deaths from gunfire in the Christchurch, New Zealand Mosque on Friday, March 14. At least 49 people were killed and 20 more seriously wounded in this act of terrorism. Our thoughts and prayers today are focused on those who are experiencing deep grief, fear and shock in communities around the world.

This morning, as I (Dean Gail) walked to work, I paused beside the Global Citizens Plaza. As I approached the beautiful globe with water cascaded over it, I could see my own reflection. I was struck with the truth that we are all global citizens, and our actions for hate or love reverberate around the globe. If you are on campus, I hope you also take a moment to pause and reflect. We, the entire Fish Interfaith Center staff, on behalf of Chapman University, invite you to join us Tuesday, March 26, 7:00 pm in the Fish Interfaith Center with members of the Muslim Student Association and the Chapman Orange campus community in solidarity and support.

We stand and grieve with our Muslim brothers and sisters today as we have too often when our brothers and sisters of various traditions have been gunned down in their places of worship – in the U.S. alone, Sikhs in the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Christians in Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. One of the missions of Chapman University is to develop a global citizenship culture. We are connected to one another locally and globally. This interconnectedness should inspire all of us to understand that hatred towards others is a disease; and it is clear that hate in the form of white supremacy is an international epidemic. Our cure is to work together in cultivating respect, care, and love for each other. Hate will not win in this world when people of love and care mobilize together.

Thank you for standing together with us for peace. If you are on campus, the Fish Interfaith Center prayer and meditation room is open today or next week between 8am-5pm. If you are traveling home for Spring Break, in your own community, whenever you see signs or hear words of hate counter those – we are all people sharing this planet in community.

In peace,

Gail Stearns, Dean, Wallace All Faiths Chapel

Shaykh Jibreel Speight, Director of Muslim Life

Rabbi Corie Yutkin, Director of Jewish Life

Rev. Nancy Brink, Director of Church Relations