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Rally For Unity: LSU, Southern students join together in fight against social injustice

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BATON ROUGE - Head coaches Will Wade and Beth Torina were just some of LSU’s athletic leaders drawn to campus by the voices of students demanding change.

They joined dozens of administrators and students from both LSU and Southern on Friday evening, uniting against racial injustice following the recent death of George Floyd.

Change is already happening at LSU. School leaders announced this week that they plan to rename Middleton Library and say that’s the first of many changes to come.

Leaders from both schools who led the rally implore they want to keep that momentum going, and now's the perfect time to bring both campuses closer together.

“It’s really significant right now at a time when our country is divided,” rally organizer and LSU graduate student Loreal Johnson said. 

Their message was clear: the time for animosity between the two institutions is over.

“I think it’s extremity important because you have to form a relationship with Southern University and Louisiana State University before things like this happen,” former LSU Student Body President Stewart Lockett said.

That message of unity was echoed through each person that stepped up to the mic in free speech alley. Students and faculty said they want to come together, rather than stay apart, with the common goal of racial equality at the center.

“In a time like this, we need to be more unified at the end of the day. Especially both black populations at both institutions. This conversation is a great way to be on the same page before we fight the bigger fight which is racial injustice,” former SU Student Body President Anthony Kenney said.

Those in attendee listened to topics revolving around inequities between predominately white institutions vs historically black colleges and universities. Many speakers made suggestions on how Southern and LSU can work together to bridge the gap between north and south baton rouge where the two campuses sit.

“These conversations are going to bring about great change. Great unity, great opportunity for people to sit down at the same table and fight the bigger problems together,” Kenney said.

LSU student-athletes and coaches also came together at the rally to show their support for a renewed relationship between Baton Rouge’s two major universities.

“I think that sends a message. And it should send a message and resonate, not only within LSU and Southern but to show everybody else that this is a dialog that can happen and when you come as a united voice that’s when the change is going to happen,” LSU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Nikki Fargas said.

Organizers want to keep the momentum from this week going and say this is only the start for a greater change. And it doesn’t matter if your a tiger or a jag.

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