On a night that was blistering cold, participants of Sunday night’s candlelight vigil on the patio of Nyumburu Cultural Center found warmth in the fact that they’ve kept their passion fueling for civil liberties.
“The point of this was to bring everyone together and get them to realize that our struggles shouldn’t be divided or emphasized about how different we are but rather coming together and having power in numbers,” said Ashley Sharp, organizer of the “Universal Liberties Candlelight Vigil.”
Sharp decided to put this event together after seeing the passion students exuded last semester regarding police brutality after incidents in Ferguson and New York City which garnered national attention.
Sharp wanted to keep that passion going among the student body and chose the time frame of Black History Month in order to emphasize the theme of #BlackLivesMatter. But after speaking with her state delegates, she decided to change the message and include all lives.
One of the night’s speakers, Colin Byrd, expressed the importance of including Latinos, Asians, gays and other minorities in the movement to ensure that the government is giving all groups of people equal rights.
The mayor of College Park, Andrew Fellows, was in attendance alongside state delegates Diana Fennell and Alonzo Washington. Fellows and Fennell were the event’s opening speakers.
“I think the students of University of Maryland being interested in civil liberties and being engaged in the issues is incredibly important,” Fellows said. “I also like the idea of talking about community and how to rebuild our community in order to take on some of these issues.”
Sharp says that organizations on campus will continue working together throughout the semester to build more momentum in their fight for civil liberties.