March 18, 2019

We, the members of the Dean’s Council at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, are deeply saddened by Friday’s shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack, which left at least 50 people dead and 50 injured, was a terrorist act that cuts against the core values of public health.

From what we know so far, the shooter published a manifesto before the attack that was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiments. He wrote that he chose firearms as his weapons for the effect it would have on social discourse and politics both within the United States and around the world.

We want to respond to this devastating event in the best way we know how — by continuing to decry all forms of discrimination, promote civil discourse, and use research, practice, and policy to reduce health inequities and related violent acts in North Carolina and around the globe.

Our School is a place where we welcome, value and learn from individual differences and perspectives, both because diverse beliefs and ideas make us better and because every life is equally valuable and precious.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives to this act of hatred. No person of any faith should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship. We grieve with the Muslim community, and we will continue to denounce bigotry and work with passionate commitment to make the world a healthier, safer place for all.

See also Dean Barbara Rimer’s blog, Monday Morning, on the New Zealand mosque shootings.