UT Baptist Student Ministry holds prayer vigil for victims

Jasleen Shokar

The Longhorn Baptist Student Ministry held a prayer vigil in honor of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas Police on Monday night.

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both fatally shot by police officers last week, inciting a recent wave of Black Lives Matter activism around the country. During a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas on Thursday, a gunman shot 12 police officers, killing five of them and wounding seven.

There were 15 people in attendance. Organizers provided attendees refreshments and materials to write cards to send to the victims’ families, and presented a slideshow of victims.

Andrea Rodriguez, communications studies and history senior who helped organize the event, said she was shocked when she saw the news Friday morning.

“I woke up, got on Facebook and saw all the posts filled with sadness and hatred. It was just overwhelming — I felt like I needed to do something," Rodriguez said. "I wanted people to find an empowering way to fight back."

Sarah Patlan, psychology and religious studies senior, led attendees as they sang hymns, and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

“Holding onto faith is something that really helps,” Patlan said. “I couldn't stand the idea of not doing anything to help.”

Geosciences senior Isabel Tan said she attended the vigil because she wants to be more involved in advocating for social justice issues.

“I’m Asian, and it’s very easy to say this doesn’t involve me,” Tan said. “We can’t be numb to these things, we have to take notice of them.”

Tan said she believes more people who aren’t directly affected by the killings should take action in order to show support in a cause they believe is important.

“I’m not usually an activist, but my pastor said we can’t be guilty of the sin of omission,” Tan said. “We need to offer help and we have to talk about these things.”