Gun Violence on our Doorstep

On Monday, February 13 there was an active shooting on our doorstep. Michigan State
University tragically lost the lives of three college students: Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner, and
Arielle Anderson. Not only were these students innocently killed, but five other students were
harmed and they are currently seeking medical attention.

Not only is the country and state at a loss for words, but so is Hope College. Students grieve as
they mourn the loss of their friends and the lives they once knew. Students cry as they will never
again hear the voices of their friends again. They mourn the life of a friend they never expected
to mourn while in college. Anger and sadness flood the hearts of students and faculty as they
wonder why this has happened?

This past Thursday, Campus Ministries and Students Demand Action held a time of prayer in
Diment Chapel from 11-11:30 am. Shomari Tate led students in prayer as Ivan Akansiima played
jazz-filled music. Students Demand Action and the Social Justice team started by handing out
slips of paper to all who wanted to write a note or prayer for the families who lost a son or
daughter due to this tragedy. As the time of prayer went on, students took time to write
messages of sympathy and love to these families.

Shomari Tate led Hope’s students and faculty in prayer by speaking about the need for justice,
healing and peace. He noted that the world needs justice where there is such injustice. Shomari
spoke about the God of justice ruling over us and consoled students and faculty in putting their
hope in this. He spoke of healing. There were times of processing built into each word as each
individual processed what the word meant for themselves. Each individual took a moment to
reflect on how to begin the process of healing. Shomari spoke on the need for healing in
ourselves, America, and the victims’ family and friends. Finally, Hope’s campus reflected on the
word peace. Shomari spoke on the importance for peace to reign in our hearts as we seek
healing and while these injustices continue to occur. Shomari stated: “Dr. Martin Luther King
emphasized to us that if there is no peace, there is no justice.”

This time ended with one final prayer in which students gave their sorrows and questions to
God. Dimnent Chapel was open for students to take the time and space that they needed to
mourn and process for the next half hour. As students left, Students Demand Action passed out
sections of green string to each individual to wear or tie onto their backpack as a symbol of
solidarity with Michigan State University.

Hope’s Campus remains in a period of mourning and sadness. In the words of our President
Matthew Scogin: “Let’s extend the Lord’s grace, compassion and love to the MSU community as
well as those here at Hope who have been impacted.”
Resources available for support: CAPS — 616.395.7945 and Campus Ministries — 816.395.7145

Spartan Statue at Michigan State University on Feb. 14, 2023 (Photo credit: Joel Bissell |

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