In the early hours of Sunday morning shots rang out in the quad area of Grambling State University in the midst of Homecoming celebrations.
As of this writing, one person has died, one is in hospital with critical injuries, and five sustained non-life threatening wounds. This is the second fatal shooting on this historic campus within a week. Officials note that the perpetrators of this violence were neither students nor university personnel.
My heart is broken for the victims, for their families, for the members of our own St. Luke’s Episcopal Chapel, and for the Grambling community as a whole. My prayers ascend for all of them. And I stress that genuine prayer must also give rise to action.
Join me in praying for eternal rest for the departed, healing for the injured, comfort for those who grieve, and repentance for the assailants. Join me also in calling for our elected officials, for our community leaders, and for each of us individually to do what is needed to bring an end to what has become an epidemic: violence, and gun violence in particular.
The roots of violence are myriad. And while personal responsibility is always a dimension of things human, so too are the circumstances within which we make our choices. We need to commit resources to the development of our small communities like Grambling. And we need common-sense, effective gun regulations across our land.
Love is our highest calling as human beings. Whether we are the victim of it or its perpetrator, violence debases our humanity. You don’t have to be a Christian like me to hear the truth in what Jesus taught with his very life.
Some who read this may need a map to find Grambling. Others will quickly recognize the name of this storied historically black university. For me, it is a community of people I have come to love and admire.
So, yes, the violence in Grambling is personal for me. And maybe it’s high time we take all violence, anywhere, personally. That’s what love does. And love is the only power that can bring violence to an end.