Black Student Association Led Walk for Peace

Bridgewater College Students, Faculty and Staff Walk to “Gravitate Toward” Peace

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  • BSA also developed a virtual aspect of the walk where senior Nia Stanton (left) streamed via Instagram live for those who could not physically attend the event.

  • Students, faculty and staff gathered 20 minutes prior to the Walk for Peace to make posters and signs. Junior Mariah Megginson was one of the first people to arrive.

  • Chief of Campus Police Milton Franklin said that he was “amazed by the amount of support as people honked and waved as they drove by.”

    Photo by Lamont Jones

  • Senior and Public Relation Coordinator of BSA Daniel Jones spoke prior to the walk. The walk started outside of Blue Ridge Hall, went up Dinkel Avenue and back down College Street.

  • Students were required to wear their mask and stay six-feet apart when possible during the event. Juniors Lamont Jones (left) and James Mayo (right) displayed their artwork during the “pop-up” event prior to the walk.

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Jackie Letaiugyang, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – On Monday, Sept. 21, the Black Student Association on campus invited the Bridgewater College community to walk together to promote peace. 

“We want to use our voices together to speak on issues that may or may not concern us, but knowing that is something those around us stand highly on. We are there to be allies to one another,” said BSA President Kenadee Lee.

Senior and Public Relation Coordinator of BSA Daniel Jones said the club started planning most of their events early in the summer “so when we get back to campus, we can hit the ground running.” 

“A lot of people came out and made signs and that really warms my heart. It was very good to see that kind of campus involvement, especially with everything going on,” said Jones. “We want BSA to be a presence on campus, a place where any student can come and feel accepted and know that it’s a safe space for them.”  

Attendees’ reasons for participating in the walk varied, but the common goal of the demonstration was to promote peace on campus and in the world. 

“Even though we are a small campus in a small area, we still need to stand up for what we believe is right and continue with these demonstrations,” said senior Grace Keller. 

Advisor for BSA and Senior Instructor of Communication Studies Jennifer Babcock gave credit to Jones for giving “such a meaningful and welcoming speech” before the walk. 

“I loved the idea of the event — walk about issues that matter to you. When everyone seems isolated because of COVID, it’s good to come together as a community and walk for peace,” said Babcock. 

While people safely gathered in person to make signs and walk together, students and faculty who are not on campus or were not able to attend the event in person, were invited to join via live on Instagram. 

Junior Emily Gormus was not able to attend the event in person, but was able to watch the event on Instagram. 

“I like that the live video gave those people who are part of the Bridgewater College community, but are learning remotely or couldn’t physically be there a chance to show their support and participate in the event through watching it,” said Gormus.

About thirty people attended the event. Attendees started making signs and posters at 3:30p.m. The walk started at 4p.m outside of Blueridge Hall, went up Dinkel Avenue and back down College Street.

Dean of Students Leslie Frere said when students demonstrate their commitment to peace, justice and to one another in the community “it’s one of those things that makes a student affairs professional’s heart sing.” 

“Particularly at this time when community is so important, certainly over the last several months and following the tragic event over the weekend, I think this demonstration couldn’t have been more perfectly timed,” said Frere. 

Over the summer, BSA shared their idea of hosting a peace walk on campus in coordination with Student Life. Coordinator of Student Engagement & Leadership Sam Schlernitzauer approached the BSA leaders about a “pop-up” event before the walk, which would allow individuals to make posters and signs. 

“BSA is the main planners of this event and they’ve worked very hard to see it from ideation to execution. Covid-19 presented some challenges, and I think they navigated them well,” said Schlernitzauer. “While our office did support the event by providing this opportunity, BSA holds the sole credit for making the walk happen.”