Last week, a group of students joined Carol and me at our home to recognize their work on Unity Week at PhilaU.
This year marked our fifth Unity Week on campus. It is a program I am consistently proud of because of what it says about the PhilaU community. While many places discuss diversity, and what it brings to their campus, we are different – we celebrate diversity as a strengthening element of a healthy and growing community. We celebrate what unites us, not what divides us.
A week ago, in Boston, we saw some of the results of what not living in unity with one another can bring. We also saw the best of what comes when we stand united.
While there is much still to learn about the motives and methods of the brothers who are accused of this terrible act, I am struck by their means of communication. They chose to express their disagreement with something – be it our politics, our government, our way or life, or the conditions in the home they left behind – with violence. We will feel the aftermath of that choice in every large gathering, sporting event, and beautiful sunny day on the streets of our cities.
There is a greater lesson in Boston though. As we celebrate those who ran into the smoke to apply tourniquets and offer aid to the injured, the runners who continued on to hospitals to donate blood, and the thousands of businesses and individuals who opened their doors to feed and house those who needed a place of safety, we are aware of the strength of a common cause united behind a common good.
At a time when the bombing in Boston is all too real and common – here and around the world – events like Unity Week are even more important. Our students celebrate what unites us, and they choose to understand differences, embrace or at least respect those differences and find commonality, to learn about each other and from each other.
Our world will be a better place for people like them.