Author: Anthony Murdock II
In my opinion, love is the most powerful force that we as people have to exert upon each other, our communities, and our Earth. In the biblical context, 1 John 4:8 suggests that love is synonymous with God and 1 Corinthians 13:7 states, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. And while I understand that love is not confined to the biblical explanations listed above, as it holds resonance in a plethora of other areas and teachings and societies; I’m writing this piece from the perspective of a black, Christian man—so the explanations listed above hold the greatest resonance with me.
Around noon on October 14, 2015, I arrived on Butler University’s campus for a meeting with Pastor Jeffrey Allen Johnson II of Eastern Star Church and another student leader to discuss implementing an informal bible study/table talk with Butler students. On my way to the meeting, I saw three individuals holding up signs, saying “Be A Ho No Mo”, “Fear God and keep His commandments”, etc. They said hateful and derogatory terms to women as they walked to classes, made statements of hate toward the LGBTQIA community, and called men who chose to gaze upon their demonstration, “masturbators”.
Upon seeing these demonstrators, who were representatives from Campus Ministries USA, and the affect they had on Butler students (some responding to this hate with anger or sadness or tears or pure confusion), I knew it was time to take action: it was time to protest.
I then proceeded to contact my fellow activists, my brothas and sistas of the Butler community who were motivated to erase injustice. And we, in addition to Pastor Jeffrey Allen Johnson II who was ready to support the cause of socially aware students, united around the Butler Bulldog in an effort to make change.
Initially, I thought we should protest these hateful and ignorant demonstrators, and condemn their behavior; they were a poor reflection on Butler and a poor reflection of the Word of God. But these demonstrators were protesting, in the name of hate and condemnation. So why should we protest? It would put Butler at the same level of these ignoramuses. Instead, I asked that we join to create a love circle: a gathering of the Butler Community outside our student union to talk about and spread love amongst each other, in the midst of the hate and division that Campus Ministries USA was trying to spread.
It was absolutely fascinating how fast the crowd grew outside our union. I probably contacted fifty or so people, and within thirty minutes, we had at least a hundred people (with at least another 50 to 75 coming and joining and then leaving for classes) outside the union ready to show the power of love. Social Media, Text Messages, Group Chats, and most importantly the infectious power of love brought hundreds of people together in the name of justice.
For three hours, homosexuals joined hands with heterosexuals.
For three hours, the religious joined hands with the secular.
For three hours, staff joined hands with administration.
For three hours, faculty joined hands with students.
For three hours, blacks joined hands with whites.
For three hours, love was spread in the name of justice.
This blog, Double Consciousness, is used to display the perspectives of students of color at Predominantly White Institutions. As a black student at Butler, who has been blatantly ostracized by the Powers That Be and discriminated against by the Drivers of Miseducation, joining hands with these Powers and Drivers in the name of love was an incredible experience.
It was incredible because it demanded that I put aside my resentment toward the actions these individuals committed against me and my black brothas and sistas.
It was incredible because it displayed that they, the Powers and Drivers, also put aside their prejudices and distasteful practices and principles.
But we did these things in the name of love, in the name of unity, and in the name of justice.
I will go back to class on Monday, after thoroughly enjoying this Fall Break, and likely will be exposed to the same distasteful practices of the Powers and the same prejudices of the Drivers of Miseducation.
But in my heart, I will be able to reflect upon that three hour experience on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, and remember the way in which love won over hate—and how we as a community of imperfect people whose members have lied or cheated or were racist or were sexist or were bigots or were manipulators—we came together and took a stand to say that Butler will not let that HATE, win over love.
As an activist who has witnessed a force unify so many people, I yearn to understand that force and how I can use it to bring about change in my community, the black community.
We must use love to uplift ourselves from the shackles of racism and socio-economic oppression. We must use love to demolish the prison-industrial complex and demilitarize the police that are destroying our communities. We must use love to free ourselves from the cycle of oppression that whips and withers the spirits of our souls. And we must use love to fully understand the power that we have as a people, in this world that tells us we are invaluable.
On Wednesday, I was overjoyed to be a part of the love that won in the midst of hate at Butler University, and I have faith that same love will win the fight against the injustices of my people.