Trinity Community Calls for Peace and Justice in St. Louis and Beyond

Faculty, Students, and Faith Leaders Speak Out to Show Solidarity

Hartford, CT, November 21, 2014 – A diverse group gathered at the Trinity College Chapel on Thursday evening to pray for peace and justice in the St. Louis region as the nation awaits a grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The speakers—faculty, students, and faith leaders among them—shared their emotions and called for people of every race, age, sex, and socioeconomic status to band together in the name of justice.

The event, hosted by Assistant Chaplain John Selders and Shanice Hinckson ’15, featured an array of speakers as broad as the emotions stirred up in the wake of tragedies like Brown’s death.

Seth M. Markle, Assistant Professor of
History and International Studies
 “Regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, this issue affects us all,” said Hinckson, a senior philosophy major recently named as a President’s Fellow. “We are in solidarity with the side of justice.”

After Chaplain Allison Read recited a prayer composed by residents of Ferguson, Missouri, Seth M. Markle, assistant professor of history and international studies, discussed his recent experience living abroad in Tanzania, where few understood why black men faced such high levels of violence in the United States. Markle also connected the murders of Emmett Till and Martin Luther King, Jr., to the more recent killings of Brown and Trayvon Martin, creating a compelling narrative about the history of violence against black men in the United States.

Nigel Hill ’15 is a Trinity student who has, literally, hands-on experience with the issue. As a native of Brooklyn, New York, Hill has experienced the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy. “Michael Brown could have been me,” Hill said.

Speakers also focused on the need to do more than talk about how the issue has affected them, but also to fight for change and for justice.

“This conversation is just a starting point,” Hill said. “We need to keep coming together and fighting for action.”

Assistant Chaplain John Selders and
Jocelyn Redding '16
 Few were under the illusion that fighting for change would be easy. “I’m not sure we know how to deal with that pain [after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown]. That pain can make it hard to fight,” said Donna-Dale Marcano, associate professor of philosophy and director of Trinity’s human rights program.

“A little bit of the spirit of this country is dying every time we hear another one of these examples,” she added.

The connections to the St. Louis region on Thursday night were deep. Chaplain Selders, a native of St. Louis, invited the Reverend Osgyefu Uhuru Sekou to participate remotely in the event via speakerphone. Sekou called in to thank the Trinity community for their solidarity and to call on everyone to continue fighting for justice.

Also hailing from St. Louis is Jocelyn Redding ’16, a junior psychology major who grew up just 10 minutes away from Ferguson.

Representing her hometown well, Redding succinctly and eloquently summarized the message of the evening: “We are praying and asking for justice and peace.”