(Gainesville, GA) On Oct. 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. on the front lawn of Brenau University’s Women’s College, the Student Government Association (SGA), the Black Student Association (BSA) and Alpha Chi Omega held a vigil for lives lost against police brutality and other grievances.
The vigil began with President of SGA Sara Hubaishi thanking everyone for coming and introducing Brenau President Dr. Schrader to welcome students and visitors. Schrader thanked everyone for “being involved in the lives of folks around us and the whole United States and not just being centric on our little society.”
Reverend Samuels from St. John Baptist Church in Gainesville said a prayer over the vigil and lives lost. Hubaishi then introduced freshman Jaala Holt, who performed a monologue from the play, “For Colored Girls.”
Afterwards sophomore Gloria Clark performed an original spoken word piece called “If He Got Pulled Over.”
“I don’t want my brother to become a hashtag, I don’t want to see anymore brothers in trash bags,” she exclaimed, Gloria ended her spoken word piece saying “When they got pulled over, they never made it home. Tell me, can I sign up for a class on how to handle that?”
Following Clark’s performance, Vice President of BSA Peyton Edmond gave remarks. Peyton thanked those for not only honoring lives lost, but celebrating those lives that were lived.
“The United States in 2015 had 1,209 victims of police brutality with 346 being black,” Edmond stated. “30% of black victims in 2015 were unarmed compared to the 19% of whites who were armed. Also, 69% of blacks killed in 2015 were either unarmed or committed non-violent crimes.” Peyton went on to explain why the numbers were important and how no one is held accountable for the deaths that happened.
Once Edmond finished her remarks, junior Kenya Hunter, the Political Action Chair for BSA, did a reading of the names of victims. Hunter noted that everyone on the list were killed in Georgia. Following this, the executive board of BSA led the audience with candles to the fountain on front lawn.
After a moment of silence in honor of victims, BSA led a chant saying, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains. Ase. Ase. Ase.” Each line was repeated line by line by those around. The vigil concluded with hugs and love.