Yolanda Pierce, PhD
This weekend, I was at home preparing remarks to welcome our new and returning students to the 2017-2018 academic year. As a new dean and new member of the HUSD community, I wanted to focus my words on the future of theological education and the importance of the vocations to which we are called. I made notes about upcoming events, important dates for students to remember, and general announcements about academic life I wanted to share with my new students. And then Charlottesville happened…
Via Twitter and live feeds from shaky cell phone cameras, I watched as white supremacists marched, rallied, and rioted on the campus of the University of Virginia – even before mainstream media began reporting. In equal parts sorrow, rage, and numbness, I watched the ensuing violence and domestic terrorism perpetuated by members of neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups. But I also watched as members of the clergy, faith leaders, and people of good conscience put their actual bodies on the front line, for the cause of justice. I watched men and women of faith living out the very doctrines and tenets of their respective faith traditions.
And it became clear to me, as never before, that theological education must equip those who are called to speak truth to power. Theological education must help to train and to prepare those who called to stand courageously in the face of oppression. And theological education must provide a solid foundation from which to speak, write, march, pray, protest, sing, legislate, and preach – to create a world, on earth, that mirrors our eschatological hope.
As a community, we pray for Charlottesville. And as people of faith, we work, fight, and pray against the forces, powers, and principalities which undermine the justice of God.
Yolanda Pierce, PhD
Professor & Dean
Howard University School of Divinity
Howard University - School of Divinity | Holy Cross Hall - 2900 Van Ness St. NW Washington, DC 20008 | (202) 806-0500