‘Black Lives Matter’ vigil to be held on Oregon State University campus Monday

Put on by the OSU NAACP, event will be held in the SEC plaza Monday night, open to all

After Capreece Kelsaw wrote “Black Lives Matter” on her resident hall’s whiteboards to have it crossed out and replaced with “Don’t all lives matter?” she decided to take action on the movement that has importance to her.

Kelsaw, political science sophomore and vice president of the on campus chapter of the international organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has helped organize the Black Lives Matter candlelight vigil that will be held tonight at OSU.

“Since the beginning of this year, there’s been a black person killed at least once a day with no days in between,” Kelsaw said.

The NAACP wants to give the community the opportunity to honor lives that have been lost in the past year due to police brutality. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement brought more attention to this issue and has been influential to Kelsaw and Stephanie Mgbadigha, a junior in human development and family science and the president of NAACP.

“We decided to basically do it because we wanted to make sure we are honoring the lives that were lost in 2015,” Mgbadigha said.

Although the NAACP is a national organization that has been in existence for over 100 years, a group of students brought the organization to the OSU campus this year. They are dedicated to bringing awareness to political issues. After meeting in the beginning of winter term, the club thought of a few ideas to bring more exposure to the current tragedies happening. The club partnered with the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center to host their first official event.

“It’s pretty much just to bring awareness to the growing issues and to pay respect to the lives lost to hateful attitudes and police brutality,” Kelsaw said.

Savannah Tidwell, a sophomore in kinesiology, said that some students who are not a part of the black community may not understand the meaning behind this event or what NAACP is trying to accomplish by it. Tidwell explained in her own words what the term “Black Lives Matter” really means to her.

“The black lives matter movement is just saying that black lives matter just as much as everyone else’s,” Tidwell said. “I think by specifying this, people will finally understand the movement and will begin to be on the same terms.”

The NAACP members at OSU hope that this event will be a space where students can safely grieve and share their emotions.

“We’re going to have time for people to share their thoughts, their feelings and things like that as we just bring candles and offer moments of silence in remembrance for the lives that were lost,” Kelsaw said.

In participation with the University of Oregon and Portland State University, faculty will present speeches about their personal outlook on the topic at the vigil. Students will also be able to share their thoughts with the rest of the crowd.

“We’ve invited people from different campuses, different staff just to pay respect,” said Mgbadigha. “We want it to be known that even though these things are happening elsewhere, we want them to know that we feel it too and we support them. We’re still honoring their lives.”

This event is open to everyone within the community because it is meant to bring those who are affected by these issues together and educate the public, according to Kelsaw.

“I’m hoping that for people who are aware of what’s going on and care about it already — I hope this will be like a place for them to kind of heal, to vent and to grieve,” Kelsaw said. “For people who aren’t really aware, who don’t see importance in it, that this will be an opportunity for them to see how people are actually affected — how many people are affected, to see to the extent.”

The Black Lives Matter Candle Light Vigil will be held at the Student Experience Center plaza tonight at 6:00 p.m. The NAACP meets every other Monday at 6:15 p.m. in the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center and is open for new members to join.

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