Hundreds march on Baylor campus

March of Solidarity
The Baylor NAACP chapter organized a march through campus Thursday evening to protest racial injustice. Constance Atton | Photographer

By Jon Platt

Hundreds chanted, “Don’t shoot! BU!” outside Pat Neff Hall Thursday evening in a protest against inequality.

The gathering, organized by Baylor’s NAACP, began in front of the Baylor Police Department, where students and faculty together met for prayer, singing, chanting and a moment of silence before marching through campus.

Many activists cited their presence was because of recent alleged police brutality. Often mentioned by marchers were the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.

“Even though it happened in Ferguson, it affects everybody,” said Irving sophomore Chelsea Williams. “It’s good to see this happen in Waco because it can happen anywhere. Where’s next? Who’s next?

Approximately 300 students silently gathered to express themselves peacefully.

“I’m standing here because I personally believe there’s a problem with our justice system,” said Dallas junior Laurentyne McGill.

The NAACP planned the movement in response to problems they see in the police and justice systems.

“I’m here not only as the adviser of NAACP but as someone who wants to see justice brought about,” said Ramona Curtis, director of civic engagement. “A college campus is a great time for students to express social movements.”

Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president of student life, joined the students as they marched through Christmas on Fifth Street activities. Jackson helped to self-police the group and said he was there to show his support and see Baylor students expressing their beliefs

March of Solidarity
The demonstration concluded outside Pat Neff Hall, where students expressed themselves through peaceful protest, singing, chanting and prayer. Constance Atton | Photographer

“We want students to be able to express themselves, to be able to express what they’re feeling and what they’re concerns are,” he said.

Jackson also said no movement or march of this size has occurred on Baylor’s campus since he has worked at Baylor. The closest thing, he said, was a protest against the administration bringing Anne Lamott to speak on campus.

“That just shows different people have a different opinion,” he said.

Jackson said the protest was well organized and that the leaders were mindful in policing the conduct.

Students from all classification gathered in solidarity.

“I have dreams. I just want fair treatment. I just want opportunity,” graduate student Jonathan McKay said.

Mychelle Berry, Lawton, Ok. freshman, said she was there to stand for freedom and acceptance. She said her desire to see justice was because she would one day have kids, who might experience these unjust acts against them. She said she did not want to see this happen.

“It affects our generation,” Houston senior Jessica Holum said. “It’s our issue. It affects everyone in some way.”