A Message to the Community From President Daniel Y. Habuki
Dear SUA community,
Across the nation and the world, we’ve witnessed the outrage sparked by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd resulting from systemic racism in our society. For far too long, the indifference to, and the dehumanization of, the black community has caused unending suffering. We must not ignore human suffering, the pain of others. Our core values as an institution necessitate that we care deeply and seek to be the change we want to see in our world.
I cannot begin to fathom the pain and suffering of the families who have lost their loved ones. My heart is with them, our community and family, who are hurting and living with this fear daily, which is further heightened by a pandemic that continues to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
At this most challenging time, I reflect on a racist exchange Mr. Ikeda witnessed between a young African American boy and an older white man in 1960 during his visit to Chicago, Illinois. The older man’s mistreatment of this young boy filled Mr. Ikeda with a deep sense of indignation. Addressing the young boy in his heart, he vowed to build a society truly worthy of the young boy’s love and pride.
It is with this spirit that Mr. Ikeda founded Soka University of America based on the principles of peace, human rights, and the sanctity of life. He has made it his lifelong goal to focus on education as the key to enduring social change and global peace.
Based on the efforts of our current students to address racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, we began to seriously tackle these issues within our own community. Although we recognize there is much more work to be done, we are committed to ensuring that our university lives up to its founding principles and mission. It is my hope we can come together as a community to build a school and society that is truly worthy of your love and pride.
In closing, I would like to share Mr. Ikeda’s recent words from his message to the graduates of the Class of 2020: “You are all pioneers striving to ensure the survival of humanity, ushering in a sublime future in which all may coexist in harmony. Having studied here at this university, which abounds with the profound yearning for peace held by individuals from every corner of the globe, you are the vanguard in leading lives to advance the wellbeing and welfare of ordinary people.”
Please stay safe and healthy.
Daniel Y. Habuki
Note: This message was delivered to the Soka community via email on Monday, June 1, 2020.