Prayers for safety and understanding filled Bosco Student Plaza Wednesday night, despite 40 degree temperature, 20 mph winds and flurries of wind-swept leaves buffeting the students who gathered there.
The Black Student Union held the vigil as part of its My Black is Beautiful Week. More than two dozen students hazarded the weather to participate in the event.
Black students shared personal stories of their encounters with racism and how it affected them.
Casha Mills, junior in English, said she experienced racism locally through the app Yik Yak after she appeared on Snapchat’s Campus Story for K-State.
“There were some comments about me (on the app),” Mills said. “I knew it was about me because they said, ‘That black girl on Snapchat should stop making posts about My Black is Beautiful Week because nobody cares.'”
Mills said the comments showed her what some people truly think.
“That just brought to my attention how we’re celebrating our beauty and people are mad about it,” Mills said. “They don’t want us to celebrate our beauty. They’re upset that we know that we’re beautiful.”
Dillon Evans, junior in architecture, said racism has followed him his entire life. He said one of his strongest memories took place during an academic competition in public school.
“I won’t lie, I was struggling,” Evans said, “And this other girl there was killing it. She said to me, ‘You know you’re not supposed to be here.'”
At the vigil, students held hands and prayed for the safety of students on both the K-State and Mizzou campuses. Two college students were arrested for making threats to black students on social media on Wednesday, as reported by USA Today.
Conner Stottlemyre, student at Northwest Missouri State University, and Hunter Park, of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, were both arrested for suspicion of making a terrorist threat on Yik Yak.
Neither man attended Mizzou and police told reporters that no weapons were found during the investigation, according to USA Today.
As hands clasped together in the midst of the biting wind, Shaneka Cabe, freshman in business administration, said she would remain defiant against those who judge her based on her appearance.
“Ever since I was a child, I was called ugly,” Cabe said. “I am who I am. And I’m going to walk with the same confidence my mama always told me to.”
The BSU will host a study hall and craft night tonight starting at 8 p.m. in Hale Library 301. They are also hosting a photo shoot at 3 p.m. at Bosco Student Plaza on Friday.