College students organize 24-hour protest downtown

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Photo credit/ Brigid Edmunds

Brigid Edmunds, News Editor

Students from Baptist Bible College & Seminary organized a 24-hour protest called “Stand for Freedom” held in Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton last week.

On April 9, 191 people stood in the square to participate in “Stand for Freedom,” which is a global anti-slavery movement. Dr. Alexander Dawoody, associate professor of administrative studies, has been helping the movement grow within the Marywood community.

He was asked to help by colleagues and friends in the community and got involved to bring the event to Marywood so students could learn more about slavery as well as have an opportunity to participate in the protest.

Dawoody said that the human trafficking task force, at Marywood, has helped spread knowledge on the event and student response has been positive. Dawoody said he believes that the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movement fits well with the core values at Marywood.

“It promotes respect for individuals,” Dawoody said.

The event was organized by junior Baptist Bible College Communications major, Rachel Mowers, as part of her senior project. Mowers had been planning the event since last fall and wanted to do the event after hearing about it last year.

Mowers started setting up in the square at 10:40 p.m. the previous night and said the turn out was good and numbers were higher than anticipated.

“It’s been really cool to see the number of people that literally were just walking by doing their daily business and saw this and were curious,” Mowers explained.

At the event were various stations where participants could learn more about slavery. The first was a registration table where guests signed in. Then, there was an information tent set up with pamphlets and reading material so people could read about and understand what the event was for. There was a prayer station along with a paper chain representing the number of people currently in slavery.

“The purpose with the paper chain is to help us understand how many slaves there are,” Mowers said. For every link in the chain, four people were represented and by the end of the night, 720 links were added to the chain, representing 28,000 people sold into slavery in a 24-hour period.

The last station was a T-shirt station where volunteers could make tee-shirts that said, “We stand for them,” a slogan for the movement. There was also a station set up with free coffee and hot chocolate for participants.

The event was staffed by student volunteers. Of them, Baptist Bible junior English major, Patrick Kelley, volunteered to help spread the awareness. According to him, Baptist Bible has pushed awareness on its campus about slavery and he said it was time to take events off campus. “This was something I felt we needed to do,” Kelley said.

Mowers said she was happy with the overall turnout from the Scranton community.

“I am very encouraged with the turn out we’ve received,” Mowers said. “It’s been really cool to see.”