LSTC statement regarding the death of tyre nichols

Alongside so many others in our country right now, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago is outraged over the violent and senseless death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man murdered by five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee. In particular, we mourn with Tyre’s mother, son, loved ones, and the nation who suffer because of his loss. We pray for healing and justice for Tyre Nichols. It is unacceptable that so many similar deaths of Black and Brown persons have happened across this land. We refuse to be complacent about this and thus also complicit in perpetuating this evil.

As an institution committed to antiracism, we are all too aware of the structural forms of violence inflicted on communities of color in our society. So we remain committed to fighting this violence and injustice through education and action that are core to our mission. This message seeks to remind you of these several commitments and invite your participation.

On Friday, March 31, our Antiracism Transformation Team (ATT) will host a training for LSTC’s Board of Directors and staff members facilitated by the Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (CROAR). This past fall, faculty, and ATT members received the same training. This training is one example of how LSTC makes justice work central to our mission.

In January, the seminary released its revised strategic plan, and one of its two major themes is the call for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) across our institution. This topic is one of the seminary’s two foci during the coming years. Related to our work with DEIJ, our strategic plan calls for us to prioritize and promote moral sustainability in recruitment and retention, student experience, and administrative processes. We invite you to visit our  website to learn more about how we plan to enact our values and monitor our progress.

We cannot reverse what has happened to Tyre Nichols or the countless others who have been murdered senselessly. We can, however, engage in a serious reexamination and evaluation of our own systems and practices to ensure an equitable and just experience for those within our community. To this end, we are now and will continue to be deeply committed. Let us close this message by reminding you about other resources for these difficult times.

LSTC Support Services

LSTC is a community that cares. If you or someone you know needs support during this time, the LSTC Care Team is here to help. The Care Team provides the following resources, which may be held on campus or virtually.

A Community that Cares Monthly Conversations: Brown Bag Lunch Series

These regularly scheduled sessions are facilitated by a trained staff member who will guide a thoughtful conversation on broad issues of concern that current events and critical issues may prompt. It’s designed to be a safe space for us to converse as a faith community and attempt to process and cope with what’s going on in the world around us. Notification of these monthly sessions will be sent out to the community via email.

Small Group Sessions

These are impromptu check-in sessions facilitated by a trained staff member; usually over the lunch hour. The purpose of these sessions is to address urgent needs or concerns that may arise in the community. Notification of a small group session will be sent out to the community via email.

Special Prayer Services

Prayer provides a sense of comfort and solace in our time of need. When life events happen, joining with the community in prayer is a powerful thing. Depending on the need, we may occasionally hold special prayer services or vigils in Augustana chapel, or smaller impromptu services in the Roby chapel. Notification of special prayer services will be sent out to the community via email.

Bereavement Support

Whether your loved one is 5 miles away or 5,000 miles away, coping with grief is never easy. If we are notified of a death in your family, we will personally reach out to you to offer our condolences and discuss ways that we can support you. We strive to be sensitive to personal and cultural preferences and will do our best to support everyone in the way that is most helpful to them. Please notify someone from the Care Team if you or a student that you know could possibly benefit from bereavement support.

Pastoral Counseling & Referrals

Our Pastor to the Community is Erik Christensen. He provides pastoral counseling for all students and also provides referrals for spiritual direction services and resources. Please contact him directly to schedule an appointment.

Get Involved

Join us for several engaging conversation throughout Black History Month. This year’s theme is Reparations: Educate, Liberate and Celebrate. Throughout panel discussions and events, we will explore the question, “How can reparations begin to repair the breach experienced by African Americans created by decades of harm and oppression?” Visit our Black History Month events page to register for an event.

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