Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,

The impact of the horrifying attack that shook Jersey City and all of us earlier this week continues to reverberate across our state, nation, and world. As law enforcement seeks to fully expose the roots of this unspeakable violence, public officials are pointing to anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement hatred as the driving motive. It is sickening to us all. We identify and grieve with the families and the Hasidic and broader Jewish communities of Mindel Ferencz and Moshe Deutsch, the family of Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and his community in neighboring Harrison, the family of livery driver Michael Rumberger and his Jersey City community, and the family and law enforcement community of the valorous Detective Joseph Seals of nearby North Arlington.

We extend our gratitude to officers Ray Sanchez and Mariela Fernandez, who bravely put themselves in harm’s way to protect others, along with so many other law enforcement professionals. We also extend our reassuring support to members of our own university community who braved the uncertainty of having children and other family members and friends in locked down schools in the area during the crisis.

As a university defined by our intersection of people of so many different backgrounds coming together in common cause to make a better world, a moment like this reminds us that roots of hatred can be found in refusing to embrace people different from us, and even more deeply in refusing to empathize with each other. In this context, the loss this week of 15-year-old Elijah Alvarez of Newark is equally tragic.

As we seek ways to recover from these grievous losses and move forward, please reach out to each other in mutual support and do not hesitate to avail yourselves of our counseling services. Students may contact the Counseling Center at 973-353-5805; employees may contact University Human Resources/Faculty Staff & Assistance Program at 848-932-3956.

Those whom we lost this week were brothers and sisters to all of us. We owe it to them, to their communities, to our communities, and to ourselves to recognize both the gift we have in each other at Rutgers-Newark, and the responsibility we bear to grow together across our differences, whether on campus or in our neighborhoods. Wherever we see divides that need bridges, let us be the ones to start building them.

In solemn solidarity,

Nancy Cantor