November 17, 2015
More than 90 members of the Perkins School of Theology and SMU communities gathered for a vigil and march on Tuesday in response to racial injustices felt at Southern Methodist University.
The gathering was initiated and sponsored by the Black Seminarians Association and Justice in Action, two student groups at Perkins, and commenced on the steps of Perkins Chapel. Perkins students and faculty, including Dean William B. Lawrence, participated – as did area clergy members and representatives from local action groups.
In 1952, Perkins School of Theology admitted five black students in what was the first voluntary desegregation of a major educational institution in the South. In a poignant moment during Tuesday’s event, L. Robin Murray – chair of Justice in Action and president of Los/Las Seminaristas – delivered a statement from Rev. Dr. James V. Lyles, one of the “First Five” at Perkins.
This vigil and march acknowledges the brokenness, pain and frustration not only on the SMU campus but also on campuses across the nation. It is a call for sacred justice for all students, faculty and staff on our campus, and the goal is to see an SMU united against injustice: against both the root causes and the systems that perpetuate injustice.