Video by Morgan Kilgo | Broadcast Reporter and story by Gavin Pugh | Digital Managing Editor
Hundreds of people walked with Natasha “Tasha” Nkhama to class in solidarity in response to a video she posted on Facebook detailing an incident where she was called a racial slur and forced off the sidewalk.
Singing songs like “Amazing Grace,” the students and faculty led the event with a prayer and applauded Nkhama before they began the walk.
Attendees sported name tags and signs reading: “#iwalkwithtasha.”
In the video detailing Wednesday’s incident, Nkhama said she was walking to class from Tidwell to the Baylor Sciences Building when a male bumped into her and forced her off the sidewalk, saying, “No n—s allowed on the sidewalk.”
Nkhama said when a bystander intervened on her behalf and asked the man what he was doing, he referenced President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, saying: “I’m just trying to make America great again.”
Some students attending the protest expressed their fears in regards to the incident.
“It’s not even Trump that I’m afraid of – it’s the supporters,” Sugar Land freshman Chioma Aladume said. “Everywhere [Trump] went at his rallies, he inspired hate … As soon as he became president, all this stuff started happening.”
Students weren’t the only one walking with Nkhama in solidarity – faculty and staff attended, too.
“I don’t want any student to be afraid to be on our campus,” Interim President David Garland said. “And I’m going to be talking to our police chief and seeing to make sure that anybody walking across our campus is not afraid. We say that we are a Christian community and that means that these kinds of incidents should never happen on our campus.”
Vice President for student life Dr. Kevin Jackson also attended the walk, and said that he was there to show support for “all our students.”
“I’m grieved by it. [The incident was] antithetical to who we are as Baylor University,” said Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life. “One of the things we are experiencing here is what we are experiencing in the nation. There’s a lot of confusion and unsettledness. There is some fear. Our focus here at Baylor is to create an environment where they are truly transformed. And to do that, they need to feel safe.”
The walk ended at the Baylor Sciences Building, where Nkhama addressed the group and expressed her thanks to the group, as well as the man who defended her.
“To whoever defended me that day, I don’t know you, but I thank you — honestly,” Nkhama said. “And thank you for being an example to everyone else on campus. To the gentleman who said those words, I’m praying for you, and I love you.”
On Thursday, Baylor released a press statement in response to the incident. Baylor said the behavior is disturbing and does not coincide with Baylor’s values, and they condemn the behavior. It stated that Baylor has connected with Nkhama and work with her to ensure that she feels safe and supported, and commended the bystander who defended Nkhama.