A Black Lives Matter candlelight vigil took place on Tuesday, Oct. 4 starting at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Scandling Campus Center.
The vigil was an opportunity for “students of color and white allies to come together and grieve for the black and brown lives lost through police brutality,” says Niame Traore ’18, a leader of We the Unheard student group that organized the event. “We wanted to create a space where everyone can come together in solidarity for the lives lost and support one another by building camaraderie.”
Traore’s hope for the event was for community members of all backgrounds – race, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, class or political belief – to come together to achieve two goals. “The purpose of this vigil is not only to heal, but to educate the student body of the burdens students of color around the nation carry with them as they walk through the world. By doing this, We the Unheard hopes to provide better understanding and form stronger community bonds within our campus and in the Geneva community,” she says.
The vigil began with opening remarks and a video presentation, followed by a silent march around campus from 7:30 to 8:10 p.m., including stops at several memorials to leave flowers and write post-it notes sharing messages of grief and solidarity.
After the walk, attendees returned to the Scandling Campus Center steps to participate in an open forum, allowing participants to share thoughts. Closing remarks were offered by student organizers who introduced the support systems that are available to students on campus, including the allies who helped to organize the event.
We the Unheard collaborated with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Intercultural Affairs, Student Activities, Campus Safety, Chaplain’s Office, Counseling Center, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, as well as members and allies of HWS culture clubs.