What’s next series offers platform for diversity conversations post-election

Grand Prairie freshman Camry Jones expresses her discomfort with the results of the presidential election at the What Now event, held at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening in the Bill Daniels Student Center. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

The department of multicultural affairs held its first event in the “What’s Next?” series addressing diversity and inclusion Tuesday night, but it was not without pushback from protesters.

The event, put on by Baylor NAACP, was modeled after Maya Angelou’s Poem “Still I Rise” and started with Dallas sophomore Natasha Nkhama reading the line that says, “You may shoot me with your words.” After last week’s incident involving Nkhama being shoved off a sidewalk and degraded with a racial slur that was justified with president-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, the event aimed to address such issues.

Trump supporters, elsewhere in the SUB, struggled to keep quiet and eventually yelled, “Build that f—–g wall! Get the f— out!”

Baylor Police Chief Brad Wigtil and student leaders excused themselves to deal with the incident.

Wigtil reported that there have been four reported hate crimes that he is aware of since the election.

“There is a righteous indignation rising in my heart,” Wigtil said. “I won’t rest in my prayer life until I see God’s love take over our campus.”

Former Texas State Rep. Chet Edwards also spoke at the event.

“No matter how hard I try, I know because of the color of my skin I will never be able to understand the pain of discrimination Natasha faced,” Edwards said.

The meeting started with an open floor for students to stand up and share how the election made them feel, and students had some strong feelings. Students said they won’t sit and watch the country become what they’re scared of, and it’s not really Trump they’re mad about, but his followers. Students said that as people of God, who are they to demean others, and the election has turned out to be like a bad car crash.

“Not everyone who supported Trump are racist,” Edwards said. “But you would be blind to our society to deny the racist tendencies that played into this election.”

Toward the end, Nkhama thanked everyone for coming, emphasizing that it is not easy to be a minority as it challenges one to address these issues head on. The event gathered everyone in order to determine where to go from here and asked students to meditate on who they are and how they love people.

“I’m sorry for what happened. It pains me to see what’s going on on campus, and it needs to stop,” said Flower Mound freshman Connor Price. “We need to come together as one. I’m begging us to stop looking at each other as white or black or Asian; let’s just be Americans.”

Other events over the course of the next week include the department of multicultural affairs Food for Thought at 4 p.m. today at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center, Campus Convos with International Justice Mission at 8 p.m. Monday and the Baylor Mixed Martial Arts and department of multicultural affairs Self Defense Clinic at 9:30 p.m. Monday. Noche de Fe, A Worship Night Hosted by La Fe Ministries, will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.