Shepherdstown, W.Va.- ShepConnections hosted a Black Lives Matter sign hold on Thursday in front of Riverside. The organization also had members of the Black Student Union join in having a voice during Black History month.
ShepConnections is a Shepherd University student group which aims to support the spiritual growth of college students in a diverse, non-denominational context.
Freshman Sharice Hawthorne said they want people to not only educate themselves on the history of Black History month but also to educate themselves on, “the challenges that POC (people of color) still face.”
“The recent BLM Sign Hold was a powerful experience for me to honor the precious black souls that were lost to the hands of hate. Many people know the details of how they died, but it is imperative to remember the things they were passionate about and what brought them joy,” said Hawthorne.
Morgan Sell, director of ShepConnections, said the sign hold was inspired by the students, “and their desire to have their voices heard during Black History Month.”
“We need to treat every month as black history month to continue to fight the racism and injustice that is still occurring every day,” said Hawthorne.
Senior Communications major Iyee Jagne said that she participated in the sign hold because she wants people know that the history of African-Americans is also a big part of America’s history.
“If it was not for the many brave people that paved the way such, as MLK and Oliver Brown. I most likely would not be where I am today,” said Jagne.
Courtney Bell, freshman theater major and member of ShepConnections said that they want people to hear about all of the lost history that has been overshadowed by the American education system.
“Their journeys and fights need to be taught to everyone, not cast aside. As someone who is biracial, it is very important for others who are biracial to learn more about their heritage and what they are fighting for in their lifetime to carry on the battle of equality. Black History Month is not just recognizing a race for one month, it is to tell new stories and new experiences about what has been happening in the black community,” said Bell.
Bell also noted how movements and demonstrations, “can still be an eye opener for others, and some might not want to hear it because of how heavy it is, but we have to listen to everything that is being told to us in order to prevent it from happening again. It is not just people holding signs of victims, it is about getting their voices heard, and society hearing their pleas asking them to lend a hand in this journey.”
Jagne is also secretary of the Black Student Union and a reporter for The Picket.
ShepConnections seeks primarily to build compassion and community in an open and non-judgmental way to allow for individual expression. They gather together to explore various ways of listening—to our own lives and experiences, to one another, and to the spirit that often brings us back home.
The intention of ShepConnections is to provide an inclusive space for our LGBTQIA+ students and Allies as well as all seekers, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. We deeply welcome the wisdom of all faith traditions.
You can follow ShepConnections and Black Student Union both on Instagram for more information and the latest on upcoming events.