Two major Brookhaven institutions have issued statements of supports for change amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and other black people.

Oglethorpe University’s outgoing and incoming presidents issued a statement that dialogue and change can come. And the Latin American Association called for love amid a reminder that “racism is a daily reality.”

Both statements cited the deaths of Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia. Oglethorpe’s statement cited the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky as well.

The LAA declared solidarity with black communities and backed the right to peaceful protest, saying in a June 2 statement, “Unless each of us acts to uproot racism, it will continue to cost black lives.”

“We understand that community well-being comes through dialogue, kindness and the shared notion that the pain of the individual is the pain of the community,” the LAA said. “We believe that bonding across communities is the best weapon against hate and racially-motivated violence. We resolve to build Dr. King’s dream and to love humanity fully. In Dr. King’s time, as now, love is the best weapon against hate and racially motivated violence.”

The joint statement from outgoing Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall and incoming president Nicholas Ladany called all three deaths murders that are part of “the continued crisis of racism-fueled violence in America…”

Change is possible through classroom and community dialogue as well as voting, the presidents said in the June 1 statement.

“Most importantly, change is predicated on the continued affirmation that the lives of black people matter at Oglethorpe, in Atlanta, and in this country,” they wrote.

“We mustn’t let our fear of the unknown stand in the way of meaningful engagement with this national dialogue about race in America and a commitment to make positive change,” the statement continued. “For many reasons, this will be a year etched into the history books. Our hope is that we can all remember and speak proudly about what we said and did.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.