Overt racism reared its ugly head recently and shook up the small community of Lindsborg after racially offensive messages were found written in chalk on the sidewalks of the Bethany College campus.
Some of the hateful messages were directed at the college president. He and his wife have six young children, two of whom are adopted and of biracial heritage.
Bethany College President William Jones recently spoke out about the incident and the public outpouring expressed in support of his family, Bethany College, and the Lindsborg Community as a whole:
“This is Will Jones, president of Bethany College, and on behalf of our faculty, staff and students, I’d like to thank all those people that have contacted us to share their thoughts and concerns and their goodwill and their welcome to me and to my family and to Bethany College. We’re grateful for all of our local support; we’re grateful for those good people who, like us, have been appalled at the hateful actions of a few.
“As a parent, I would like to specifically speak to other parents and grandparents: please challenge racism wherever you encounter it. Hurtful, racist actions is not activism. Hate language is not blunt talk. I would encourage you to get to know other people of other races and cultures. Thank about what you post or share online or in jokes you tolerate. Please use your imagination to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Do the simple thing and treat all people the way you want to be treated.
“Finally, I would just ask you as a member of our local community, please pray for Bethany College, please pray for our students that they’ll continue to have a great year, and pray for the Jones family, my children and my wife, for their protection against those who might want to hurt us, or intimidate us, or make us not feel welcome. Please pray that these people who are doing this would experience emotional and spiritual healing. And thank you again for all of the support of Bethany College and for the Jones family.”
President Jones went on to talk about some of the positive changes that are already happening, including a new resolution by the Lindsborg city council that just passed earlier this week.
“They had a resolution, a statement on inclusiveness and diversity. The hospital’s passing out bracelets, ‘One people, love all,’ in our community. And I know it’s probably caused a lot of people to rethink some of their own ideas, so good will come from it, no doubt.”
President Jones and his family just moved this summer from Georgia to Lindsborg where Jones is serving as the 14thpresident of Bethany College. He originally shared a longer version of this message on Facebook, where it has been shared over a thousand times.
A copy of Lindsborg’s new city resolution is available on Facebook (It is not necessary to have a facebook account to view):
Photo: Bethany College President William Jones looks on while Mayor Bill Taylor signs Resolution 14-16 in support of diversity and inclusion.