Organization to hold vigil for immigrants, refugees

Better Together BU is holding a prayer vigil for refugees and immigrants from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday in front of the Bobo Spiritual Life Center. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer

Better Together BU is holding “Baylor United: A Prayer Vigil for Immigrants & Refugees” from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.

Better Together BU is an interfaith organization that gives students the opportunity to share their cultural experiences within their community and to get to know others. The purpose of the vigil is to bring positive awareness to issues such as President Trump’s proposed travel ban and the Baylor sanctuary petition, as well as make people of other cultures feel welcome at Baylor, said Plano sophomore Wafa Demashkiah, co-president of Better Together BU.

“Even though it seems like something that won’t affect college or [students] at this age, it already started to affect us,” Demashkiah said.

Demashkiah is Muslim and was born in the United States. Her parents are from Lebanon and became American citizens. When Demashkiah was a freshman, she had numerous disagreements with her roommates that led to three of them deciding that she needed to move out because of cultural differences. Demashkiah did move out, and the experience inspired her to get involved in Better Together BU.

“We should welcome everybody with open arms, no matter what [their] religion, race, culture, ethnicity,” Demashkiah said.

The Baylor Democrats assisted in planning the event, although they are not sponsoring it, said Montogomery junior Jessica Green, president of the Baylor Democrats.

“In my opinion, [the vigil] is a broad addressing of the issues because I feel like if you are silent on the issue you are just allowing it to occur, and you are supporting it,” Green said.

Green also said that, although Baylor Democrats is a partisan club, this is not a partisan issue. Green said that a person’s way of life and comfort in a country should not be political.

The event will feature speakers, and students will be invited to pray for immigrants and refugees, Demashkiah said. More information regarding the event is available on the Facebook event page.

Demashkiah also said she thinks the refugee crisis is a bipartisan and human issue that should matter to everyone with a beating heart.

“Just bring people, even if you are just passing by,” Demashkiah said. “I know that it is a very tight time and that people might not be able to come, but if you can just pass by, any support is welcome, and we need all the help we can get.”