Date September 12, 2016
Media Contact

Brown University community reflects on summer tragedies

Students, faculty and staff convened on the College Green for a gathering and series of readings in response to the summer’s many tragedies.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With the fall semester now underway, Brown students, faculty and staff joined together on the College Green on Sept. 12 for a community gathering, coordinated by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, to reflect upon the many tragedies of violence that occurred this summer, including the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, the death of Philando Castile and the shooting of five police officers in Dallas. 

After a welcome from Janet Cooper Nelson, university chaplain, community members from across campus delivered readings focused on social justice, hope, healing and effecting change. Musical offerings included a violin solo of Bach’s “Sonata in G Minor” by third-year student Kenyon Alexander, “Ave Maria,” performed by The Jabberwocks, a Brown student a capella group, and “Well Done,” sung by Brown gospel choir Harmonizing Grace. Brown’s Gendo Taiko group concluded the evening with a “Sending Forth” performance on traditional Japanese drums.

In her closing reading, Rabbi Michelle Dardashti, associate university chaplain, offered this reflection and call to action from Marge Piercy’s “The Art of Blessing the Day:”

Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.