We need to talk...

Statement on last weekend's events

Dear students, alumni, and friends, 

Last weekend on Jan. 19-20, two seemingly unrelated incidents occurred on Wake's campus: a man was shot and killed and a first year student posted a video on social media using a racial slur when referring to a resident hall advisor. There is much speculation out there and I urge you to stop speculating and get informed about what happened. Read the WS Journal article here about the murder of Najee Ali Baker (a Winston Salem State University football player) and read the university's statement about the first year student here. Our hearts are hurting for Mr. Baker and his family and friends. And our hearts are troubled by blatant racism in our midst. 

I'm not here to talk about the details. I'm here to show our support for the WSSU community, for the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta, and for Wake students of color who deal with racism and are exhausted by it. I'm also here to talk about how it's waaaay past time for ESF and for Wake's 80% white population to give AF. I'm sick of apathy and cold hearts. I'm sick of privileged lives who, when someone says or does something discriminatory, shrugs and thinks, 'this doesn't impact me.' 

We need to talk. 

Last night at community dinner we signed a letter of support to the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta. It's a start but it's not enough. We have to change our cold hearts and we have to show up. We have to stand up against ignorant self-unaware folks in our midst whose intent actually has an impact.  

Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
and turn and be healed.”
— Isaiah 6:10

Are we going to be a people that turns homeward toward God? Are we going to be a people that turns around with open ears, eyes, and hearts to empathize and see a people in pain? Are we going to do something about it? 

Are we going to be trained in anti-racism? Are we going to look within and come to Jesus? Are we going talk about Wake Forest climate (same goes for any college/university) and how college IS real life? (As opposed to the notion that college is some 4 year diversion, alt universe from real life where words or actions do not matter.) Words and actions have power.

Let's use the time given us to love, to do our little part to reveal God's kingdom, to build up beloved community, and fight for justice when brothers and sisters in Christ are hurting as the result of racism and hate.

More to come. Let's do this together and as a community. 

Love in Christ,


James Franklin