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Hundreds of students at Radford University gathered Saturday, Sept. 19, for The Bigger Picture March on campus despite heavy community backlash.
Days before the event took place, many Radford community members expressed hostility towards the event and the message it broadcasts.
The Bigger Picture March, postponed three previous times, was a student-organized march from Muse Lawn to Moffett Quad, aimed at showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Before the event took place, many Radford community members expressed hostility towards the event and its message.
One member of the community, Jody Pyles, posted a video to Facebook explaining the issues he has about the event taking place on university grounds.
“Why are state funds being used to help push a Marxist doctrine,” Pyles said in the video.
Pyles also expressed concern about The Bigger Picture March shifting from a peaceful protest into a riot. As of Sept. 19, the video received 648 shares.
The march also caught the attention of State Senator Amanda Chase, who posted on social media about the dangers of allowing the event to take place.
However, none of this stopped students and other university members from showing up to support the cause.
Many in attendance expect community backlash with any event seen as political.
“I believe it comes with the territory,” Junior Jade Valentine said. “In order to start something, we have to do something big, and whoever doesn’t like it, oh well.”
“I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time, it’s kind of unreasonable in a sense,” Freshman Layla Wallace said. “We’re not doing anything violent or vindictive with any alternative motives.”
Some even felt pity for those that disagree with The Bigger Picture March’s ideologies.
“It’s truly sad,” Freshman Ayiana Adkins said. “You would think in 2020 there would be a change in perspective and more understanding.”
Marchers said they attended strictly to join the movement, not please the community or those who disagree with their agenda.“I feel like now people are going to know what Radford is and what Radford really means,” Sophomore Deja Huggins said. “It’s about empowering.”
“Today, I wanted to stand with my people, my black community, and show that we will not just stand here and let things slide,” Adkins said. “We will not stand for any more racism or discrimination in our community.”
“I feel like now people are going to know what Radford is and what Radford really means,” Sophomore Deja Huggins said. “It’s about empowering.”
The Bigger Picture March ended Saturday evening peacefully.
“People think that we’re going to stop marching and uniting as one, but it’s important to know that we can be out here, be peaceful, and be safe,” Freshman Chyna Marshall said.
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