black student union BLM vigil

Vice President of Student Affairs Levester Johnson (left) holding hands with students in prayer at the vigil held by the Black Student Union.

Students, faculty members and guests gathered outside of Schroder Hall Monday night for the Black Lives Matter candlelit vigil. People of all races and nationalities gathered together to honor the lives taken in black communities all over the world.

The vigil started at 7 p.m. and everyone was invited to stand around the flag pole where the Black Lives Matter flag was waving.

The night started with an introduction from the Black Student Union (BSU) Programming Chair Tyra Smith. After the introduction, small Black Lives Matter flags were passed out to every attendee there. Smith encouraged everyone to raise them in respect.

A group of young men made their way towards the front of the crowd and sang songs while everyone held their flags. Individuals from the BSU stood in a line holding signs all promoting the importance of equality all over America.

Amidst the crowd of people, President Larry Dietz stood respectfully with his flag in hand.

“To me it’s important to support students and the opinions they have," Dietz said. "I thought I would come out and support the organization."

ISU student Myranda Scott talked about what the night ultimately meant for her.

“I heard before that we were getting a Black Lives Matter flag and I kind of thought it was a rumor but knowing that they actually put it up, knowing that it’s something my school is supporting, knowing that it is predominately white, it does make me feel more at home here and more comfortable," Scott said. "The fact that I can come out here and say that my life matters or the lives of other black people matter is just kind of great.”

Throughout the vigil, students walking by called out negative phrases towards the vigil. Group members did not respond to the students.

Different students from the African American community came up one by one to say a few words about the night. One student yelled out "Power to the people: and the crowd came back with "All power to the people."

About halfway through the night, everyone was asked to place their small flags in the ground surrounding the flag pole where the Black Lives Matter flag was flown.

It was completely silent in respect of those who have lost their lives in the African American community. One by one names of fallen African Americans were called off. All around individuals were hugging one another in support.

As everyone placed their flag in the ground, they were given a small candle to hold. Once the lighting of the candles began, the crowd broke out into peaceful singing.

Soon after, everyone was asked to grab hands with their neighbor, bow their heads and pray.

At the end of the night, attendees came together to sing "Amazing Grace."

ALI RASPER is a news reporter and photographer for The Vidette. She can re contacted at alrasper4@ilstu.edu. Follower her on Twitter at

lirasper4

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