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'We’re trying to do this together;’ Liberty University students rally for racial equality

Around 100 students took part in what they called an “informational meeting.”
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A group of Liberty University students rallied Tuesday in response to racial injustice across the nation.

Around 100 students took part in what they called an “informational meeting.”

Several people spoke, including athletes, coaches and campus leaders. “We’re trying to do this together and be better and have conversations that we just haven’t had before," Kelly Nangle, the head coach of women’s lacrosse at LU, explained during the rally.

Students say having these conversations is important, especially during the transition of university leadership. “There’s a lot coming forward about the racial insensitivities on campus and what these students are actually experiencing,” said Elizabeth Brooks, a senior at LU. “I think, more than ever, now that Jerry has been brought to light and we are no longer sweeping things under the rug, then yes, we have to go forward, and push and push and push and make these changes that need to happen."

Students said they’re planning an organized Black Lives Matter march next week. Several students said their efforts are not tied to the Black Lives Matter organization.

Liberty University leadership released a statement about the rally saying in part: “While some who used the words “Black Lives Matter” were in attendance, to be clear, this was not a Black Lives Matter event, although we believe that black lives do indeed matter.”

Read the full statement below:

Statement about student-led peaceful assembly on September 8, 2020:

"This morning, a group of Liberty University students peacefully assembled at Freedom Tower in the interest of Christian unity and bringing awareness to social and racial injustice. While the original event was postponed in the interest of student safety, we are encouraged by the diverse group of students who gathered to understand the purpose of the postponement and to learn more about a student initiative called “Justice4Us”.

Students at Liberty are permitted and encouraged to engage in peaceful activism, demonstrations, and protest gatherings as long as all current health and safety protocols and procedures are followed and prior permission has been granted by the university. Such was the case for the gathering that took place today.

While some who used the words “Black Lives Matter” were in attendance, to be clear, this was not a Black Lives Matter event, although we believe that black lives do indeed matter. This Justice4Us event was a student-led and student-created initiative. It is inclusive of all who support Christian unity and social justice. It was not only peaceful, but also civil, safe, and carefully observed to help ensure all members of the campus community were protected.

Our office welcomes anyone who would like to know more about peaceful gatherings on our campus."

— Kelvin Edwards, Executive Vice President of Management Efficiencies and Diversity

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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