RADFORD, Va. – Students at Radford University came together for a school-sanctioned social justice march, but they were not allowed to take their demonstration off-campus because of coronavirus concerns.
“RU The Bigger Picture” drew hundreds of students to campus on Saturday. However, the university restricted the rally to students only, in order to prevent any potential COVID-19 cases from spreading into the larger Radford community.
Student Devante Mosley led the effort to organize the march, which was constrained to the Muse Quad.
“I’m motivated," Mosley said. "We’ve seen Richmond, Washington, LA, and New York come together and protest, so can Radford do it?”
The rally received criticism before it started because of Radford University’s rising COVID-19 cases. Some, including Virginia gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase, were concerned with the university hosting a large event despite the possible health risks.
The city of Radford has an ordinance which bans gatherings of more than 50 people due to COVID-19 concerns. However, it did not apply to the march because university events are not subject to the ordinance.
Mosley believes students needed to voice their concerns about racism now, even with COVID-19 in the air.
“We want to bring awareness to what we go through on a daily basis: systemic racism, police brutality, injustice," Mosley said. "It’s all about our humanity. That singular word: humanity.”
Mosley hopes the march left an impact in the city, despite the fact it never left Radford’s campus.
“Black and brown people are going to stand up and are going to have to stand up for what’s right," Mosley said. “We have to promote change in our community, and it starts with us. If not now, when? If not us, then who?”