Marquette University Police Chief Edith Hudson, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence William Welburn and Director of the Center for Peacemaking Patrick Kennelly joined a Beyond MU webinar and discussed the ways to stand up for racial injustice.

Individuals first must do their part in order for change to happen, or as Patrick Kennelly, director of Marquette’s Center of Peacemaking says:

“We have to resist all things that humiliate others and engage in self work to address things that need to change.”

When committed individuals come together in community — to support one another, call out wrong-doing, build trusting relationships — that is when a seismic shift can happen.

The popular webinar series, Beyond MU — Lifelong Learning, recently explored Marquette’s role in creating change with three university leaders who help to lead the charge.

Below are examples of the messages shared by leaders during the panel discussion, Addressing Disparities at and Around Marquette: Racism and COVID-19.

Edith Hudson
Marquette University
Chief of Police

Marquette’s young police department is community focused, rooted in service and relationship building. The community needs to have a voice when engaging with Marquette. “We will listen and not just assume what community members want from us,” Chief Hudson stressed.

MUPD is committed to relationship building, with students, faculty, staff and Marquette’s Near West Side neighbors. MUPD is a community partner, which allows officers in an urban environment to bring a small town feel to everything they do.

With respect to students of color at Marquette, “it’s about truly engaging, building trust, and not just observing and occupying their space,” said Chief Hudson. Engagement efforts, like a well-received 3-on-3 basketball tournament between MUPD and the Black Student Council this past academic year, put the department’s values and priorities into action.

As mom to a 20-year-old, college-age son, Hudson readily shares, “Just as I have hope for him and the way I would want police officers to treat him, I have that same hope for [students at Marquette], and I personally, and with our team, plan to make sure that our students are treated fairly, just as I would want my child to be treated.”

Patrick Kennelly
Director, Center for Peacemaking

Kennelly opened his remarks noting that Milwaukee and society in general have a long history of racism and health disparities. At the same time, our community has a long history in the use of non-violent, peacemaking strategies to bring about change.

With community partners, like local pastors, HUD, Near West Side Partners, and landlords, Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking is actively working to change conditions of the community.

We are shifting the values and skills of students — shifting fears of safety to acts of problem solving — to work for the common good, stressed Kennelly. “We are called to care for one another and work toward a unity of hearts.”

Dr. William Welburn
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence

“The surge in racism has stirred the nation’s conscience,” observed Dr. Welburn. The response [in the nation] has been across racial and ethnic lines.

Students are using their Marquette experience to engage about racism; they are using peacemaking to express themselves and reach senior leadership. Welburn shared that Dr. Lovell is very engaged, meeting with the Black Student Council, for instance.

“Empowerment is critical, feeling like your life matters,” expressed Welburn. “Black Lives Matter is something we can put into practice every day and not just say it.”

For Welburn, he sees great value in what the Jesuits created for us, like placement [of institutions] in cities. Cities change; college students change; yet the constant that remains is the way we look at the world through the lens of social justice.

At Marquette, climate is key, and therefore foundational to work done in Marquette’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. As a wake up call, a recent survey reported students feeling a much lower sense of well being on campus.

“We have work to do,” Welburn emphasized. He goes on to say it must be concrete structural change at the institution, not just rhetoric. We need to empower students to work across cultural lines and offer experiences in and out of the classroom that challenge thinking about race and society.

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