Princeton Seminary | On the Recent Murders of African Americans in…

On the Recent Murders of African Americans in the U.S.

On the Recent Murders of African Americans in the United States, A Letter from the Undersigned Faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary to Our Students
June 1, 2020
(signers to this statement do not represent the Seminary or the faculty as a whole)

We, the undersigned faculty, cannot remove from our mind’s eye the image of Ahmaud Arbery lying on the street, the scene of Breonna Taylor killed in her own home, the sound of George Floyd gasping for breath in Minneapolis. Our hearts are in travail over the death-dealing reality of white supremacy—insidiously present every day in the routine and the mundane. The recent murders of African Americans are an absolute abomination. Alas, they are only the latest outrages in this nation’s long history of murderous lynching, shootings, bombings, and other lethal attacks on black lives. We find ourselves—yet again—consumed by grief, confusion, rage, sadness, and other feelings that we struggle even to name. We stand in solidarity with protests and demonstrations against anti-black violence and systemic injustice.

In this letter, we address the students of PTS. We acknowledge how these instances of anti-black violence and the deep-seated structures of white supremacy they reveal are also affecting you.

In particular, we acknowledge and address the impact of this violence on black students at PTS. We name and acknowledge the range of emotions we have heard from you.

We name and acknowledge the recurring pain that you face as new instances of racial violence are broadcast on television and social media. We name and acknowledge the fear black students face as you engage in everyday activities like jogging down the street, sleeping in your own home, or walking through “white” neighborhoods. We name and acknowledge the told and untold ways the seminary and its faculty have participated in racist structures. We name and acknowledge the frustration and despair that can curtail black students’ ability to speak and act. We name and acknowledge the rage and trauma that fuels protest. We name and acknowledge the resilience of the communities that have nurtured you.

Through this letter today, we want you to know that we stand with and alongside you.

We, the undersigned faculty, commit anew to the transformative power of the good news of the executed and resurrected Jesus. Therefore, we commit anew:

  • to teach and research in ways that empower our graduates to transform churches and communities alike,
  • to lead change that nurtures racial equality,
  • to proclaim an incarnational Gospel that repairs the harms minoritized communities face,
  • to nurture a political imagination that prioritizes the proliferation of justice,
  • to create classrooms that address and intervene in the historical and continuing realities of racism,
  • to bear prophetic witness to the oppression of our neighbors,
  • to work with students and the wider Princeton community toward collective action.

We grieve. We mourn. We yearn for justice! We hope for God’s future here and now.

Drawing on the Spirit of Pentecost, we join in prayer:

Come once more, Holy Spirit, like a rush of violent wind and tongues of fire, giving breath, voice, and life to all those who “can’t breathe.” Meet us in our grief, anger, rage, and loss, and turn them into transformative power. Strengthen and build communities searching for justice and peace. Make all things new. Maranatha.

Members of the Current Faculty

Afe Adogame
Dale Allison
Kenneth Appold
Eric D. Barreto
Raimundo C. Barreto
Clifton Black
Lisa Marie Bowens
John Bowlin
Michael Brothers
Sally A. Brown
Heath W. Carter
David Chao
Keri Day
Kenda Creasy Dean
James C. Deming
Heath D. Dewrell
F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp
Nancy J. Duff
Robert C. Dykstra
Mary Farag
Nancy Gross
Y. Joy Harris-Smith
Jay-Paul Hinds
George Hunsinger
Elaine James
William Stacy Johnson
Jacqueline Lapsley
Cleophus J. LaRue Jr.
Bo Karen Lee
Gerald Liu
Bruce L. McCormack
Elsie McKee
Gordon S. Mikoski
Dennis Olson
Erin Raffety
Hanna Reichel
Paul Rorem
Dirk Smit
Mark Smith
Nate Stucky
Mark Lewis Taylor
Martin Tel
Sonia Waters
Richard Fox Young

Adjunct Faculty, Fall 2020

Elizabeth Bloch-Smith
Sidnie White Crawford
David A. Davis
Adam Hearlson
Michael Morgan
Angella Son

Statement by President Barnes

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Environmental steward at St. Paul’s Christian School

Nick Babladelis, Class of 2015

“The faculty and staff at Princeton Seminary took my interests in science and theology and gave them real direction.”