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An Important Statement from LWC President William T. Luckey Jr.

Jesus loves the little children…all the children of the world. Red and yellow…black and white…they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

My parents and grandparents would sing this song to me growing up on Bank Street in the Portland area of Old Louisville. Unfortunately, some of His “followers” never heard these words or have forgotten these lyrics.

Our country, the United States of America, has a problem with racism – a problem that has been festering for 400 years. Many of our founding fathers owned other human beings. Just let that thought sink in for a moment. In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention it was decided that an enslaved person should be counted as three-fifths of a person for legislative representation. So here we are in 2020 and there are still people uncomfortable with the idea and the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” That response is sometimes met with “All Lives Matter.” Except the uncomfortable truth is that not all lives matter to all Americans.

We see Black Americans dying at three times the rate of White Americans from this pandemic. We see people of color disproportionately represented in our prisons. There continue to be vestiges of racism in our American society and they are there for all of us to see this ugly underbelly of a country we love.

I remember walking to the Student Union Building with Elise the night that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. We saw students with tears streaming down their faces as they celebrated and rejoiced on the phone with their families. I recall one young lady in particular shouting with joy, “Do you know what this means? Do you know what this means? We can do anything!” Perhaps we all celebrated too prematurely that the days of prejudice and racism had come to an abrupt halt. 

I am a white man who is keenly aware of the advantages I possess in this world. Married to a strong woman, the father of three incredibly bright daughters and the grandfather to three beautiful granddaughters, I am constantly reminded by them of my privilege.

I am choosing to exercise this privilege to communicate loudly and clearly that I am standing with my black brothers and sisters. The senseless killing of unarmed black people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and unfortunately many, many others must stop. When we say “Black Lives Matter”, we mean that the life of a person of color must be as sacred as the life of a white person…and not worth three-fifths of the life of a white person.

Children are not brought into this world as racists. They are taught these beliefs by racist parents, grandparents and friends! I was reminded of this recently when I saw my 2-year-old granddaughter dancing with and playing with a young black girl at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati in their princess dresses. Neither child saw color. They just saw a warm, welcoming, and loving smile that suggested let’s play together.

In Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Dr. King offers a scathing critique and expresses disappointment in the “white moderate” who is more devoted to “order” than to justice. He points out that “shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” I saw a quote last night that said, “It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property and looting has to stop!” The article suggested that we try reversing that sentence. “It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men has to stop!” Both sentences seemingly communicate the same words, but how different they read when we place the lives of innocent people above our things and “order”. 

As for Lindsey Wilson College, we all need to take a time out and listen to our black brothers and sisters, to learn about what we can do differently and better to stand hand and hand with them, so that we may act to strengthen our college and the education our students receive. I have always thought of our diversity as a Lindsey Wilson distinction and something that repeatedly comes across from our students as perhaps our greatest asset. I look forward to your return to campus so that we can begin these conversations earnestly. 

There are critical moments in our history, and it is my hope and prayer that this is one of those moments. We are reminded by Martin Luther King, Jr. that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Let us allow this moment to eradicate social injustice throughout this country and around this world so it will lead to a better Lindsey Wilson College.