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PLU Raises Black Lives Matter Flag on Red Square

PLU Raises Black Lives Matter Flag on Red Square

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Image: Andre Jones ’22, speaking during the ceremony raising the Black Lives Matter flag. (Photos by John Froschauer/PLU)

September 5, 2020
By Rosemary Bennett '21
PLU Marketing and Communications

Members of the Pacific Lutheran University Black Student Union led a ceremony raising the Black Lives Matter flag on Red Square on Friday evening. Organized by BSU student leaders, the ceremony featured Black student and staff speakers who shared with a virtual audience of over 130 PLU community members about their experiences, perspectives, hopes, and frustrations. The flag will be raised for the entire month of September.

“Today we celebrate,” BSU President Marae Tidwell ‘21 told attendees. “We celebrate because we have been recognized at PLU. Proudly will this flag wave for the whole month of September. Black child, when you see this flag let it remind you that you matter. You are important. You are desirable. You are intelligent and you are beautiful.”

“Let us continue to fight to have our voices heard,” Tidwell continued. “Let us continue to fight for representation. And let us continue to fight for the future we see fit.”

Andre Jones ‘22 shared a similar sentiment. “I feel like since we were able to put this together my perception of PLU changed a lot,” he told viewers. “I used to feel like a lot of people of color here only had voices in places like the Diversity Center. This shows we’re wanted, and appreciated, that our school stands with us in solidarity. And to be able to hold an event of a significance like this is outstanding.”

In addition to BSU, the ceremony was also supported by the Diversity Center and Beyond Pacific. “Flying the BLM flag on the first day of orientation really uplifted our campus values of diversity, justice and sustainability. What a statement!” said Diversity Center Assistant Director Luke Ruiz. “Having the BLM flag in Red Square centers the voices that have historically been silenced.”

“Being part of the inaugural flag raising is a reminder that our institution of higher learning is taking actions to be anti-racist one step at a time. Undoubtedly, there will be bumps in the road, but we continue to be resilient.”

Other speakers at the flag-raising included Pamela Rice from PLU’s student life office; Associate Vice President for Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability Angie Hambrick; Center for Gender Equity coordinator Nicole Jordan ‘15; and student Marcus Eubanks ‘23.

“I feel this was an amazing first step and physical representation of PLU standing in solidarity and support of the BLM movement and their Black students on campus,” said Tidwell afterward. 

“I am filled with joy knowing there will be black students on campus that will pass the flag and feel welcomed by their PLU community in a time of so much racial division. It is on each and every one of us to create a community we are happy with and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do my part.”