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A Vigil for Justice in Light of Freddie Gray


You wouldn’t normally expect to see 240 blue and white paper bags around the quad on a Friday night, however this evening, May 1, was no ordinary Friday, and neither was the week. Organized by a group of passionate and driven students and faculty, the Loyola community gathered in front of Humanities to discuss the events from the week regarding Freddie Gray and how they have affected our campus and everyone in the greater Baltimore area.

“Because we need to stand together as the Baltimore community not just the Loyola community,” was just one of the inspirational quotes written on the bags that surrounded the sacred space that evening. The only noise that could be heard was the breeze through the trees and the chatter of curiosity among members in the crowd setting up their blankets for what was about to be an emotional night.

The vigil was filled with speakers coming from all different voices and perspectives. Sam Gillin, class of 2015, started off the night with a poem by Langston Hughes titled Harlem. With this, he compared the struggles of Harlem, NY with Baltimore’s and how this city has seen and gone through so much segregation and problems over the years. “But it isn’t just Baltimore that faces these issues,” he said. “People live this way everywhere due to a failed system.” He went on to end his speech discussing how these demonstrations are from years of discontent and are a cry for help. “Oppression, suppression, police brutality, and racial profiling. These are words that I cannot relate to, but I am up here today to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Everyone who spoke at the vigil had their own story to tell. Stephanie Maniglia and Patrick Barthelemy, both class of 2016, shared their experience from the peaceful protest downtown on Saturday, April 25, and how racial profiling happens every single day. Dr. Arthur Sutherland, a professor of theology, discussed why students, along with himself, should be affected. “The world is filled with urban cities like Baltimore,” he said and as students who will eventually be living in them, we need to think about how we will respond to these issues. Sarah Moriarty, class of 2016, shared her views on the police and how they have been getting the wrong representation, and that not all cops are bad. She told the crowd that they should be respected for their hard work protecting our city every single day. The crowd also heard a personal story from Terrence Jones, class of 2016, about his father being unjustly accused for a crime just because of the color of his skin. The list goes on of inspirational stories told also from Ms. Diane, a Boulder employee, Dave McShane Jr., class of 2018, Leah Hill, class of 2017, and Dr. Adanna J. Johnson-Evans, a professor of psychology.

The vigil ended with a few parting words from Mr. Rodney Parker, Director of ALANA Services. The community then walked together around the quad silently reflecting and remembering everything shared within the last week and the last two hours. The candles lit, the sky at dusk, and the community as one.

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A Vigil for Justice in Light of Freddie Gray