A student’s sermon, presented during Niagara University’s African American Faith and Social Justice class on May 9, 2022, focused on the struggle Black individuals have had to uphold their human dignity throughout history. Maya Davis, a 2022 graduate of NU’s College of Nursing, referenced Galatians 3: 23-28 as the exemplar of human dignity and questioned why "Black people have been denied any sort of dignity."

“Speaking from experience, the last few years have been incredibly difficult for the Black community. Lives have been lost, protests have called us to seek justice, and still not much has changed,” she said.

Her words seemed prescient when, just five days later, 10 Black men and women were killed in a mass shooting in a Tops market in Buffalo, N.Y.

Dr. Rolanda L. Ward, an associate professor of social work at Niagara University and endowed faculty director of its Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission, was so moved by Maya’s words that she shared them with FamVin, the Vincentian Family’s international information network.

“As a professor, my heart aches for the many students who see our faithful activities as not good enough,” she wrote. “No longer can we ask the question, ‘what can I do?’ Instead, we must say, ‘let me tell you what I’ve done to ensure human dignity for my Black and Brown brothers and sisters.’”

To read Maya’s full sermon, click here.