KSU students offer prayers for victims

Amadeus Smith


Senior exercise major Tierra Laird raises her Bible and leads a silent march around Risman Plaza.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

At first, only a few phrases leapt from the collage of prayers being shouted in the middle of Risman Plaza.

“He makes the sun shine,” cried Tierra Laird, senior exercise specialist major. “Nobody else could do it but you, God.”

Members of Voices of Testimony, Kent State’s gospel choir, formed a circle and, with tears rolling down their cheeks, held hands and prayed for the victims of Monday’s Virginia Tech shootings.

“We’re just giving support to those in Virginia Tech,” said Prince Pempton, vice president of Black United Students. “I mean, it can happen to anyone on any campus.”

To show support, the group reenacted “the walk of Jericho,” described in Joshua chapter six of the Bible.

“The people of Jericho walked around the city seven times, and they were silent every time,” Laird said. “After the last time, they prayed for the walls to come down.”

Thirteen group members circled the plaza seven times and then formed a prayer circle.

Some members, such as Taylor Mcfarland, junior business management major, made their last lap in tears.

Mcfarland said although the massacre could happen anywhere, she believes too many deaths have taken place at Kent State.

“There is so many people that have died, that have killed themselves this semester alone,” she called out during the prayer.

Group members were also there to pray for students who will attend Thursday’s FlashFest, which Laird said includes acts which go against Christianity.

“Just with the magicians and the tarot card readings – the Bible speaks against that,” Laird said.

Rick Wittkopp, a senior history major watching the prayer, said he agreed magic and some of the other FlashFest happenings are spiritual acts that go against Christianity. He said when he was younger, he and a few of friends performed a seance, and the ritual had negative effects.

“He (a friend) was smaller than all of us, and it took three of us to hold him down,” Wittkopp said. “He was possessed or something because he had never had it happen again or before the peak of the seance.”

Laird said last week’s Lil Sibs Weekend also went against Christianity because it had a theme of wizardry and magic. She said the group would pray for the event’s attendees, as well.

Pempton said, however, the festival didn’t bother him and he was there to pray specifically for the victims of Virginia Tech.

“I’m spiritual, but I keep an open mind … they do what they do,” Pempton said.

Veronica Pitts, junior criminal justice major and Voices of Testimony vice president, said the prayer didn’t just focus on Flashfest attendees.

“It’s not only for the campus,” Pitts said. “It’s for the city and for the state.”

She said the group, which included 18 members by the end of the rally, was praying for salvation from adultery, abortion and alcoholism as well as witchcraft.

“We’ll push until something happens,” Pitts said.

Contact minority affairs reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].