Not all of the Jewish Student Union’s Seder celebration was celebratory: the Seattle University club shared a moment of silence in the midst of their Passover observance.
It was for the victims of the April 13 shootings in Kansas City, which look like they will be marked as White Supremacist hate crimes.
Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, is a 73-year-old known white supremacist from Missouri. Earlier this month, Miller attacked two Jewish community facilities in Kansas City, causing three deaths.
As he awaits trial, Miller has been charged with one count of capital murder and one count of first degree premeditated murder on the state level, according to CBS News. Federal charges have not yet been given, but they will likely occur soon. Possible sentencing for the capital murder charge is the death penalty.
Miller first went to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas, where he shot and killed Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reat Griffin Underwood. Corporon and Underwood were not Jewish, but were at the community center theater while Underwood auditioned for a role in a production called “KC Superstars.”
Down the street at Village Shalom, a Jewish elderly care facility, Miller shot and killed Terri LaManno, who was visiting her mother, a resident at Village Shalom. LaManno worked at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired as an occupational therapist.
Miller was arrested shouting “Heil Hitler” as the police took him away. Miller is widely known as a proponent of white supremacy in his area, and was very open about his views. Some 30 years ago, Miller was arrested on weapons charges after he plotted to assassinate Morris Dees, a founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). SPLC works against discrimination in many southern states. Miller served three years out of a five year sentence.
In the 1980s, Miller founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, later running in Missouri for U.S. Senate. His campaign’s main political aspiration was to “take the country back” for the white race, according to the LA Times. His stance was not received well by voters. However, this is not to say that it was received poorly by all.
According to the Riverfront Times, Missouri mayor Dan Clevenger said that he understands Miller’s hatred for the Jewish population. While he did not support the shootings, his beliefs regarding Jewish “conspiracies” aren’t unlike the prejudices held by Miller. Clevenger resigned this week after his community balked at his prejudiced comments.
Current Seattle U JSU co-president Emma Marmor was pleased to see that a Jesuit institution had a place for a JSU on campus.
“Seattle University is super accommodating and interested in making sure our needs are met,” said Marmor.
Marmor believes it’s significant to have a JSU on campus, saying that it’s important for minorities to be able to connect with others of a similar faith.
“If there were/are students who feel persecuted or targeted at SU because of their faith—we in Campus Ministry would respond earnestly,” said Marilyn Nash of Campus Ministry in an email to The Spectator. “We are saddened and heartbroken about the shootings. We hold hope for a world where freedom, justice, compassion and respectful conversation flourish among all peoples and faith traditions.”
Nash added that Campus Ministry sponsors Seattle U’s Jewish and Muslim student groups.
“We serve all students who wish to use our programs, space and services to explore faith, justice and spirituality,” Nash said.
“We provide services for ALL students. Any student of any faith or any tradition is welcome in campus ministry…We also have interfaith dinners, conversations, one on one conversations and a variety of retreats and small groups where all students are welcome,” Nash said.
The shootings occurred on the eve of Passover, a Jewish holiday.
While JSU has not discussed the shootings as a whole group, they have had individual discussions, and a member of Campus Ministry lead a moment of silence at JSU’s Passover Seder celebration.
“It’s to reflect on experiences that our people went through,” said Marmor, in reference to the significance of Passover. Marmor cites it as a time to reflect on struggles that have been overcome and to celebrate forward progress, as well as the continuance of having something to strive for. “It’s a commemoration,” she said.