August 23, 2014

Reflecting on SLU's Role in the Pursuit of Peace and Justice


We know SLU students are busy students, but it is also a priority of a Jesuit education to maintain concern for members of our extended communities who may be struggling with wounds of the mind, body and spirit. If current events have you pondering how to live the mission and you're looking for ways to be a man or woman for others, this page will keep you updated on the University's continuing efforts to support Ferguson and the surrounding areas in the Jesuit tradition of caring for the whole person: mind, body and spirit.

Experience.  Reflection.  Action.  These are the tenets of a Jesuit
Education. They ask the questions: What?So What? and Now What? 

- Saint Louis University Center for Service and Community Engagement

Body: Donate toiletries & canned goods to residents unable to access basic items. 

Recently, Saint Louis University and other area organizations were contacted by the Fellowship Outreach District of Ferguson seeking toiletries and other items for its residents. Given the ongoing struggles in the community that have shuttered businesses, many residents do not have access to reliable transportation and are unable to access basic items.

SLU community members interested in helping are asked to donate any toiletries, especially toilet paper and diapers, as well as canned goods, by dropping them off at any of the following locations:

  • The main lobby of the Center for Global Citizenship (Contact: Bobby Wassel)
  • Outside room 319 on the third floor of DuBourg Hall (Contact: Peg Weathers)
  • The front desk in the School of Nursing Building (Contact: Peggy Door)
  • The Office of Student Services, room 1008) at the School of Law (Contact: Jon Baris)
  • Department of Athletics offices in Chaifetz Arena (Contact: D'Ann Keller)

Those interested in providing service to the Ferguson community can contact SLU's Center for Service and Community Engagement, which is in communication with a number of outreach organizations, at 314-977-4105 or

Mind: Participate in Action-Oriented Forums and Symposium

Saint Louis University has designated Tuesday, Nov. 4, as a Day of Civic Reflection.

Should faculty choose to engage their students during class time on this date on the topic of race and social justice, they can find colleagues who can help facilitate the discussions at the Office of Academic Affairs website.
Many of the individuals at the above website can help with discussions later in the semester for those who wish to have such a discussion in their classrooms, but cannot do so on Nov. 4 date.
Additionally, Mission and Ministry has videos that can be viewed to help direct discussion on the topic.

Contact Michael Lewis, Ph.D., at for more information.

This part of a week of activities that includes a series of brown-bag discussions, beginning Monday, Nov. 3.

The School of Law will host a Ferguson policy solutions workshop at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Scott Hall. This event is open to the public.

Panel discussions, designed to develop fair and practical responses to issues raised in Ferguson, will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

The broad topics proposed for this event are:

  • Law enforcement solutions (for example, a citizens' review board)
  • State and local legislative and administrative solutions (for example, municipal court reform)
  • National strategies

Invited guests include members of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Department of Justice and local leaders.

To RSVP for the event, email


On Saturday, Nov. 1, a conference titled "Developing Trusting Relationships Through Active Listening" was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Center for Global Citizenship to explore cross-cultural understanding.

Michal Rozbicki, Ph.D., professor of history and founding director of Saint Louis University's Center for Intercultural Studies, will speak on the topic of intercultural dialogue, while Lauren Rea Preston, a doctoral candidate in education, will speak on the subject of sustaining conversations about race.

In addition to these formal talks, the conference offers opportunities for small group dialogue and facilitated activities during breakout sessions related to the conference themes of building relationships across cultural difference and developing active listening skills.

An interfaith coalition of speakers reflected on the events of Ferguson during a national event on Sunday, Oct. 12, at Saint Louis University's Chaifetz Arena. Noted civil rights activist and scholar Dr. Cornel West keynoted the evening of activism and reflection.


Also on the program was the Rev. Jim Wallis, a New York Times bestselling author and president of the Sojourners organization. Local religious leaders spoke as well, including the Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ; and Susan Talve, the founding rabbi of Central Reform Congregation. Scriptures from various faith traditions were also read.

In addition, St. Louis rapper-activist Tef Poe, poet-activist Suheir Hammad, and Ashley Yates, a founding member of Millennial Activists United, shared their thoughts during the free event.

The second "Making a Difference in North St. Louis" symposium took place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23.

The North St. Louis Initiative was established to help coordinate and communicate the many great projects that Saint Louis University faculty, staff and students - individuals and groups - are doing in north St. Louis communities.

The objectives of the symposium were to:

  • Highlight projects, service or research conducted in North St. Louis through poster presentations
  • Encourage collaboration among faculty, students, staff and community members on current or future projects, service and research in North St. Louis 
  • Introduce current community partners to the University family and the work that is being done with North St. Louis in order to increase and strengthen partnerships with the community.

For more information contact Darcy Scharff at 314-977-4009 or


Young Students

On Tuesday, September 2nd, the SLU College of Education and Public Service hosted, Teaching Ferguson: Having Difficult Conversations When Silence Is Not An Option , an open forum on teaching race and class in our classrooms in light of the events in Ferguson. The forum drew on the collective wisdom, experiences, and viewpoints of those in attendance to provide perspectives on difficult questions and classroom conversations. Fitzgerald Hall, Room 221.


On Thursday, September 4th, SLU hosted a panel and discussion about what we can learn from the events in Ferguson and what constructive actions make sense going forward. The panel featured a range of faculty, students and alumni, sharing their perspectives on the issues. The event was held in the St. Francis Xavier Ballroom (lower level of College Church).

Panel members include:



  • Stefan Bradley, Director of African American Studies
  • Karla Scott, Asst. Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Norm White, Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Colleen McCluskey, Philosophy Dept., Teaches "Philosophy and Race"
  • Joshua Jones, SLU student, Ferguson resident
  • Marva Robinson, SLU alum, President of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists

Spirit: Prayer vigils in support of our neighbors in Ferguson

Ferguson Prayer Vigil"Given our commitment to justice, it is imperative that we continue our efforts to shine a light on the issues of poverty, violence and racial disparity," said Saint Louis University's new president, Dr. Fred Pestello, in his invitation to the second of two prayer vigils that have recently been held on the SLU campus.

SLU Prayer Vigil

"I ask that you please keep everyone affected by this tragedy -- including our SLU colleagues who live in the Ferguson area -- in your prayers," he added. "There are many people who are deeply affected by this tragedy. We should seek ways to heal together."

<-- From Instagram user @klassy_lei, following the August 24 prayer vigil: Another awesome #SLU vigil for #MikeBrown and #Ferguson. Each speaker spoke so many words of truth. I hope they resonate throughout the SLU community and that each of us will be a light for change.

In the context of these vigils and in other public statements, Dr. Pestello has called upon the Saint Louis University community to recommit ourselves to be the diverse, just and inclusive University that our Jesuit mission calls us to be, emphasizing that it is more important than ever that we take the time to care for each other as we come together to realize the promise of a new academic year.

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