Rider raises the flag in support of the Black Lives Matter movement – The Rider News
By Amethyst Martinez
The Black Student Union (BSU) began Black History Month celebrations on February 1 by raising a Black Lives Matter flag in the heart of campus in front of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC).
The annual flag-raising event began last year as a way for BSU and Rider to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kayla McIntyre, second-year global studies specialist and BSU’s president of social media and engagement, said in a speech before the flag was raised, “This flag allows us to continue the fight with the BLM movement because it is far from over. This flag brings awareness to the countless lives we have lost to police brutality and to African Americans to know that our white counterparts face justice when our blood is spilled, not just the other way around.
Faculty, including Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo, students and guests gathered around the entrance to the BLC where the celebration began.
The ceremony included speeches by McIntyre, senior finance major and BSU president, Maranisha Rivers, and senior healthcare management major and BSU vice president, Tiana Harrington. It also featured Sayndia Sando, a young psychology student who sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, a song written by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. In 1919, the song was named by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as the black national anthem.
Rivers recited Margaret Walker’s “For My People,” a poem about black empowerment, while McIntyre gave quotes on behalf of black students who attend Rider and what they like about being black.
After the ceremony was over, a black flag embroidered with the white words “Black Lives Matter” was raised, the sun shining behind it in photogenic fashion.
When asked about the significance of Black History Month, Rivers said: ‘It’s to celebrate and also recognize all that my ancestors had to go through in the past and also now what we’re going through now now and in the future, but for [also] to show that we are more than just a statistic or more than what people or society place us in… We just want to show that we can love, create, inspire people. We could certainly show people that we are more than what society describes us for, what textbooks describe us for.
“It’s important to us, especially on this campus, because it’s a predominantly white campus, that we have a community here where black students know they feel safe and supported,” McIntyre said.
BSU and Rider are hosting a series of Black History Month events for students to attend, with the next event being a Black Excellence Expo on February 10 at 6 p.m. in the BLC NJM Community Hall. This event will showcase black businesses, including student CEOs.
Harrington said: “I think we should be celebrated all year round. It is important to emphasize all [of] our history [and] our accomplishments because we have honestly done so much.