TUSCALOOSA, Ala., June 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President of Stillman College – one of the oldest historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation – released the following public statement to commemorate the Juneteenth Holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans held under the Confederacy in the United States.

“The mission of Stillman College is based on the truth that there is no limit to what can be accomplished when opportunity is not withheld from any in our society. The provision of the opportunity of education and self determination to African Americans at the end of Reconstruction was met by White society with extreme measures of either economic disenfranchisement or violence. With limited resources, Stillman College has produced courageous men and women who have fought for justice in times of extreme challenge. From William Sheppard, who brought the Gospel and the Light of Justice to the Congo in Africa, to those of our campus who offered shelter and community for Autherine Lucy and Vivian Malone when they integrated the University of Alabama, to those Stillman students who joined to march from First African Baptist Church only to be targeted for violence by police and private citizens, Stillman College has served its mission to promote equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal access for all in our society. We continue to participate in the conversations about equal justice and human flourishing in our community.”

“Now, coming again to the celebration of Juneteenth, we witness the contradiction of these values among those sworn to protect us. Indeed, we are horrified by the excessive and lethal violence perpetrated by police officers upon the persons of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, GA, of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, and less recently upon Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY. These victims illustrate that this state violence is no respecter of gender or location. The common aspect of their lives is that all were Black Americans, all had loving families who are now devastated, and all were victims of senseless police violence. We can add the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a retired law enforcement officer, his son, and an accomplice in February near Brunswick, GA. These brutal events remind us that there are racial realities that are just as deadly today as they were nearly one hundred years ago in Tulsa, OK. We lament that the original sin of America has not been resolved. Violence and death resulting from systemic racial prejudice continue to destroy the lives of Black Americans.”

“The Stillman community strives to be light casting out this darkness. We resist the threat of despair by proclaiming in word and deed that equal opportunity and equal justice are undeniably sacred. They are sacred not only because of the founding language of equality in the Constitution of the United States, but also because of the sacrifice of African American men and women throughout the history of this nation who have been its unsung heroes. They have moved from property to personhood in our founding documents, but not yet in our hearts, in all of our laws, or in our deepest consciousness as a nation. As an educational community focused on opportunity for the underserved, Stillman grieves when injustice and violence continue to be perpetrated upon black and brown Americans.”

“We continue to work toward that moment when all people will be known by their character and not their color, but until that moment, we continue to stand as a gateway to opportunity for those who seek it, and we continue to advocate for those who are the victims of the continuing injustices in our society.”

“As a concrete part of that work and an expression of our continued commitment to the goals of equal access and opportunity, we are very pleased to announce the establishment of a new scholarship program in the name of George Floyd. It will benefit students at the College who intend to study Criminal Justice in order to become the voice of the next generation of those who will continue to advocate for equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Any who wish to join us by contributing to and supporting this important work may do so at https://stillman.edu/give/.”

About Stillman College

Founded in 1875, Stillman College is a liberal arts institution with a historical and formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is committed to fostering academic excellence, to providing opportunities for diverse populations, and to maintaining a strong tradition of preparing students for leadership and service by fostering experiential learning and community engagement designed to equip and empower Stillman’s students and its constituents.

For more information, please visit http://www.stillman.edu

For More Information Contact:
Taroue Brooks