Student Spotlight: Jessica Baxter taking the lead in Black Lives Matter

Photo+Credit%3A+Melvonia+Taylor%3B+Jessica+Baxter+at+the+BLM+protest+at+the+State+House.+
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Student Spotlight: Jessica Baxter taking the lead in Black Lives Matter

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter at the BLM protest at the State House.

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter at the BLM protest at the State House.

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter at the BLM protest at the State House.

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter at the BLM protest at the State House.

Lauren Fleming, Staff Writer

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After Columbia College’s social media incident last week, one student took the lead to get other students involved in the State House Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest.

Late in the evening of Sept. 28, three Columbia College students posted a snapchat of themselves in black charcoal facial masks with the caption, “Drink the mf koolaid.” This sparked much debate and controversy throughout the entire student body, faculty and staff. However, some students took it as a chance to bring students together.

Jessica Baxter, accounting and behavioral science double major, is the college’s NAACP student chapter secretary. She was shocked and angered by the incident, she said.

“It was offensive for them to even try to make black face a joke,” Baxter, who is a black student, said. “I wasn’t expecting something so blatant from Columbia College.”

But Baxter used the opportunity to gain momentum for the BLM protest at the State House and the sign-making event held before the protest. It had already been planned for Oct. 1; it just so happened that the social media incident fell just a few days prior to the protest.

Baxter used the different on-campus programs she is a part of to spread the word. These programs include NAACP, honors and the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program.

“This was my first protest. Before we even crossed the street, we were flicked off by some white guy,” Baxter said. And that wasn’t the only hostility the group received that evening.

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter with sign made for protest.

Photo Credit: Melvonia Taylor; Jessica Baxter with sign made for protest.

Baxter said that there were a lot of white men in trucks who would drive by and yell things such as, “Trump for President,” “All Lives Matter” and use inappropriate hand gestures. However, those Baxter spoke to during the protest suggested that all around it was a mellow and peaceful protest.

Overall, Baxter said she was satisfied with the protest and the number of Columbia College students who attended. She said she was impressed with the college’s response to the incident so far.

“I believe in the promotion of diversity,” Baxter said. To Columbia College, she said she would add,  “Stop catering to the feelings of white students who want to keep the status quo. You are silencing and hurting your students of color.”

 

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