Taking a cue from the University’s 2014-16 theme of Water, Dr. Yohuru Williams, associate vice president for academic affairs (pictured on right), urged students to be part of “the cooling rain of human care” wherever they see injustice in the world during his 2014 Convocation speech on Sept. 9.
Looking out at the Class of 2018 and other members of the University community gathered on Bellarmine Lawn, the Fairfield Prep and University of Scranton graduate said he deeply appreciated Jesuit values he embraced during his education, as they “require you to open your hearts and minds to the possibility that you could be agents of change.”
In a speech that touched on the violence and unrest from Ferguson, Mo., to the Middle East, Dr. Williams remembered the wise words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and marked the 25th anniversary of the brutal murder of six Jesuit priests at Jose Simeon Canas University in El Salvador. The priests and their housekeeper and her daughter were all killed during a decades-long civil war, in which right-wing leaders had been critical of what they saw as the university’s support for rebel forces.
“They had a choice. They could have chosen to flee,” Dr. Williams said. “They didn’t. They stood powerfully and purposefully for justice.”
He challenged students to live considered lives and face powerlessness with much more than indifference. “You are the ripples of hope,” he said. “Live humbly for love.”
Williams, Yohuru, "You are the River of Change - transcript of speech" (2014). History Faculty Publications. 63.
Williams, Yohuru. (2014) You are the River of Change. Speech given at Fairfield University's 2014 Convocation, September 9, 2014.