Cowards perpetrate fear and sow discord. Such cowards are hard at work this week creating havoc on our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As an organization founded in 1935 to work, among other things, toward racial equity, the North Carolina Council of Churches will not remain silent in the face of such cowardice. The bomb threats roiling across the nation are a direct affront to the Prince of Peace that we follow and as Christians we must rise up in righteous anger at this behavior.
It’s bad enough that this generation of college students spent a year or more learning in seclusion rather than sharing a classroom. Now, some colleges must choose between the safety of their students and the opportunity for those students to learn. One cannot help but be reminded of the generations of black parents who taught their children to read in secret in order to keep them safe. Now this generation of black parents again fears for the lives of their children who are doing nothing more than learning.
Many of you know that before I came to the Council I spent over 20 years on three different college campuses working directly with students during those crucible years of their lives. Never in any of those years, which included September 11, 2001, did we ever believe ourselves in danger. College campuses should be among the safest places on earth, along with places of worship. Fortunately, the bomb threats received so far are just that—threats—and several campuses have been deemed “all clear.” This does not negate the disruption of learning and life that occurred for those students, faculty, and administrators, to say nothing of all their families and friends.
We call on our country’s law enforcement agencies, federal, state, and local, to root out the perpetrators of these heinous acts and hold them accountable. We call on family, friends, and neighbors to report anyone suspected of issuing these threats. The cowards need to be found. We must all look for them. We are all responsible for keeping each other safe and working for communities where everyone can flourish.