Students and faculty repaint rock in Kresge to read “Us for Us”
Callie Schmidt | News Reporter
Faculty, security, and students from Bethel University and University of Northwestern stand in solidarity around the rock at noon in Kresge Courtyard Thursday, Sept. 29.
Students held signs with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter Here,” “When will this end?,” “No Justice, No Peace” and “Justice is Kingdom work”.
“We’re here to lament,” Campus Pastor Laurel Bunker began. “We’re here to lament that when one part of the body [of Christ] is hurting, the whole body hurts. When we do things to harm people, everybody is harmed…we’re here to right wrongs with the knowledge that we can be better. We can do things differently. We will not allow foolishness to be done in the dark of night, because the Word of God says that what is done in secret will be exposed.”
“This is not about hate, this is not about black versus white…this is us for us. And ‘us’ is all of us who call Christ by name,” Bunker said.
Selected by students to be the collective voices to speak to this matter, sophomore Taz Song’ony and senior Will Kah stepped up.
“This wasn’t meant to exclude you, it was meant to include you,” Kah said. “None of this excludes Jesus Christ. He stands with us in this. This represents Jesus. We are spiritual beings who face injustice every single day…You cannot have justice without Jesus, and you cannot have Jesus without justice.”
Song’ony explained to the crowd that this is a time for healing and an act of us coming together as a community of Christ-followers with unity as the goal.
“When we chant ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it does not mean that all lives don’t matter,” Kah said. “We are saying that we need to start noticing that black lives do matter, because history has shown they have not mattered. Black lives were created by God. They need to be recognized, seen, heard and given equality and equity – the same thing you have, black lives should have, because you have the same God that they have.”
Kah asked the community gathered to put aside their own needs to think about the needs of the community.
“What I am does not exclude you,” Kah said. “What you are does not exclude me. Unity.”
Song’ony, Kah and Bunker began to paint the rock as people prayed. They covered the words “Blue Lives Matter,” “BLM (Black Lives Matter) = racist,” and “Double standard” in black spray paint.
President Jay Barnes helped paint a white cross over the black paint, as well as the words “Us for Us.”
“We are aware of the troubles surrounding law enforcement and minority communities in our nation today, but this is not about supporting one group over the other,” Barnes wrote in an email to the Bethel community.
“This is about listening, understanding, and loving those who are hurting—especially those in our own community. Although we may come from different backgrounds and experiences, we are united in Christ and we are united at Bethel. So I’m asking you to enter into conversations with your brothers and sisters, with the goal of learning from people whose perspectives are different from your own. Listen to and love your brothers and sisters, because that is when true reconciliation and healing will begin.”
Senior Conor Rasmusen closed the time of painting and prayer by leading the Bethel community with the following words:
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to loose but our chains.”