Community copes through prayer
Facilities worker Vernon Coleman rides by a sign held by a student that says, "#Black Lives Matter". The sign was part of the prayer vigil in response to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES
A blue mail cart slowly inched by the Bell Tower so that its driver, a middle-aged black man named Vernon Coleman, could hear as much as possible of the speeches and prayers before returning to his route. If he was on his lunch break he would be there, but now he keeps driving.
Around thirty students, faculty and staff gathered in the center of campus at noon on Monday, Dec. 8 to hold a prayer vigil in response to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. Various speakers took the microphone to share their own experiences with race and, after prayer, the group ended the hour by singing “Amazing Grace.”
Some of the students in attendance found their thoughts were overwhelming, but also shared a sense of optimism.
“There’s sadness, but there’s hope. There’s a long way to go, but I think that we can do it,” said Zania Kennedy, senior humanities major.
Students, faculty and staff respond to the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice with prayer and discussion at the Bell Tower. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES
In addition to hope, the students gathered under the Bell Tower also felt a sense of responsibility for a type of response.
“I believe that God has put a burden on our hearts to seek the justice that he wants, which would be to go out and advocate for this cause, to let other people know that something is wrong here and we can’t let it be. We as Christians have to be the best example of what it means to have good ethnic relations,” said Brian Glaze, junior biblical studies major.
Seniors Fevan McNichols and Brandon Mancini console each other as people pray for racial reconciliation. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES
The issue of racism has presented itself in the last couple months more than ever before for some students. Junior intercultural studies major Jenny Rulison desires to empathize with those impacted by the situation.
“As a middle class white girl, I want to identify with people who have gone through more than I have. I want them to know that I care and that I feel for them. I want to enter into their pain and really love them as God loves them,” Rulison said.