By Rachel Campbell & Brecken Mumford | Contributors
This evening, before complete silence takes over Odle Arena, a group of students will be taking a knee during the national anthem. You may have heard murmurs across campus about it. Maybe you were invited to the informational meeting about it, attended it or know someone who did. Administration, Campus Police, Residence Life and Student Development have been informed. This article is here to share with you, the Taylor community, why this peaceful demonstration will be taking place.
There are two main aspects influencing why we will be taking a knee: the national and the Taylor. When it comes to the national issues, we are kneeling in conjunction with the original intent of Colin Kaepernick to protest high rates of brutality toward and the killing of unarmed people of color by police. It is injustice that people we love and know face, and is something we need to address as a nation and as Christians. This is not, and was never intended, to condemn or dishonor our armed-services. We honor them and their service.
We also understand that sometimes students here at Taylor distance themselves from nationally spread issues like this because there is an overwhelming sense of "I can't change this." However, something we can change and impact is Taylor.
This demonstration is not in protest to police brutality within the Taylor community. We want to make that clear. This is not in protest to police brutality by our Taylor police. We appreciate everything they put into caring for the students on campus and the greater Upland community.
Unfortunately, there are incidents of racial harassment across campus that have happened not only in the past but this year as well. We are kneeling to bring attention to these.
We need a reporting system comparable to Title IX for issues of racial injustice. We hope that such a system would empower and give control to those students who have experienced these incidents, and would encourage white students to report incidents they have seen on the campus. The hope would be to provide a safe, effective way for students to report because these situations often go unreported because students don't want to shake up their "community."
Another point we wish to draw attention to is the severe lack of diverse representation within Taylor's board, faculty and staff. We as students can only be as great as our staff, and it has been remiss of our university to not address this with intentionality.
We care for this community and want to make sure that we provide a welcoming, safe environment for everyone. We want people to be informed. We are not doing this for shock value or media attention, but rather to draw attention to concerns we have for our brothers and sisters that are hurting.
We're your peers. We live beside you in our halls, we share meals together, we go to class together. We're human beings just like you. We're kneeling out of care and love and concern for our friends, family and strangers. We want to have conversations out of love and truth - not anger. We want to listen and care.
This is not a demonstration to divide, this is a demonstration to invite others into conversation and to action. This is an ongoing tension and will not go away. We invite you to engage.
Tonight, we'll all cheer as our players make buckets, roar when '10' lights up the scoreboard and, at the end of the game, we'll all link arms and sing "Silent Night."