Written by Alyssa Rivas
“God, please help us to be ambassadors that speak and aid in ending racial inequalities in America.”
The closing line of the prayer was part of a new initiative geared towards ending racial injustices in society.
Every weekday, since the start of the Fall 2020 semester, a group has gathered at the Taylor Circle flagpole to seek God’s intervention.
The prayer occurs between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. and has attracted a small group of faculty members and students.
Stephanie Guster, senior advisor to the President on diversity, serves as organizer of the “United in Prayer” initiative. She chose to meet at the flagpole because of the current political climate.
“For many individuals, the flag has become a divisive symbol in the conversation about racism,” Guster said. “I felt the Holy Spirit’s impression to use this spot as a new symbol on our campus for uniting around the need to pray for an end to racism anywhere on our campus, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and in the United States of America.”
Working hand-in-hand with Guster, Campus Ministries is supporting the initiative by co-facilitating three out of the five mornings every week. Campus Ministries’ theme this year is “United.” The focus, based on John 17, is a call to love one another.
Chemistry senior Mason Clark, who attended the very first prayer meeting, said those who participated had a genuine desire to improve interricial relations on Southern’s campus.
“I’d love to see that circle grow so big that cars can’t even make it through Taylor Circle in the morning because of the crowd,” Clark said. “As a student, you have the opportunity to be the change you want to see on campus. What better way to enact change than starting with the one who can see it through?”
In addition to the prayer group, Guster is working on a plethora of projects such as partnering with Student Development to support the Critical Conversation series and hosting a discussion forum on historic issues of racism within the Seventh-day Adventist church in October.
“This is what we are asking for,” Guster said. “We are asking God to help us to humbly pray for an end to racism… and that He will heal our nation from this historic plague.”