Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr. President, American Baptist College
During the annual May season of graduations across the country, colleges, high schools, and other schools at every level celebrate the accomplishments of another academic year. But the 2022 school year ends with what’s been widely acknowledged as a repeated American tragedy. 

The Robb Elementary School killing of 19 children and two brave teachers in Uvalde, Texas, represents a deepening of the trauma and crisis of gun violence in this country.
The families’ grief for the loss of children as young as nine years old and their teachers is immeasurable. This tragedy comes on the heels of 10 innocent people being murdered at a Tops grocery store in a predominately black community of Buffalo, New York. Both acts of racial terrorism were committed by 18-year-olds. Before President Joe Biden could get settled from his trip to Asia, his own history of experiencing death and grief compelled him to speak to the nation about government’s failure to pass gun safety laws. Many of us share his sentiment: “Where is the backbone and courage of government? Enough is enough.” Indeed, enough pain, tears, and repeated trauma; enough killing of innocent school age children and people just going about their daily lives. More is demanded of our moral courage. We here at American Baptist College share in the collective national trauma of gun violence and mass killings occurring in communities, churches, schools, grocery stores, and so many more places. We pause in observance of the national grief and pain. But this moment also provokes us to outrage over the fact that, in Texas and other states, a mentally disturbed 18-year-old can legally purchase assault weapons and carry out acts of evil. Our college’s educational commitment is to advance social justice, equity, advocacy, and leadership. The nation urgently needs these qualities in government and law enforcement. Our nation is not doomed by the evil of gun violence, but we are summoned to a higher level of moral courage and purpose than the evil that took the lives of the children and teachers at Robb Elementary School. Passing laws that ban the purchase of military style weapons by private citizens, require background checks, and red-flag mental health issues will not eliminate gun violence, but they represent steps in the right direction.