Students at candlelight vigil stand up against racism
In a call for greater equity and inclusion, hundreds of Connecticut College students held a candlelight vigil Monday night in front of the College Center at Crozier-Williams.
The event, organized by the College’s Student Government Association, culminated a day where the SGA asked Conn students to dress in black in order to show solidarity with students of color who have experienced racism on college campuses and in everyday life.
“We are showing that we as students have a voice,” Sal Bigay ’16, president of SGA, said.
“[Black Lives Matter] is a movement we all want to fully join in.”
After Bigay kicked off the vigil, David Canton, interim dean of equity and inclusion, addressed the crowd. Canton urged students to turn this moment into a sustainable movement.
This is more than just a Snapchat or Instagram post, “we want to commit to doing something more. Be proactive not reactive,” Canton said.
During the vigil, individuals from the crowd were encouraged to stand before the microphone and reflect on the event. Some told personal stories about their own battles with racism while others stressed the need to bring the College community together.
“The vigil is in no way meant to divide our community,” Adeline Poris ’16, SGA parliamentarian, said. “We want to foster debate and communicate that free speech versus safe spaces are not mutually exclusive.”
Speakers routinely encouraged the audience to continue engaging in conversations about race and inclusion, and to stand in support of students of color on this campus and across the nation.
Luca Powell ’16, co-editor-in-chief of “The College Voice,” had an answer to the critics who question what a few hundred students, along with a handful of professors, can accomplish at a campus vigil. Powell said the event itself was a small victory.
“It’s a platform for people to talk. You never know what will come out of it, but we are here as an expression of solidarity and that is a valuable outcome,” Powell said.