It was when the world as we knew it was put on pause, that we allowed ourselves to slow down and notice injustice happening before our eyes. The Black Lives Matters movement has shed light on racial injustice, and thousands of students have humbled themselves to apologise and educate themselves.
As student work is paused for the summer, one group of students in Sheffield made the decision to continue gathering online, but this time with a different focus: confronting racism within community.
'Despite her own graduation being cancelled and the future uncertain, it was her conviction of God’s heart for injustice that led her to act selflessly...'
Every Tuesday, students gather on Zoom to pray for an end to racism inside and outside of the church, as well as educating one another through online presentations. This student-led prayer meeting, pioneered during a time of lockdown, continues to attract around 30 students every week, even after term has ended. Many of the students involved have experienced the effects of racism themselves, and have chosen, instead of responding in anger, to respond with grace in educating and praying for those still being affected.
Nicole, a third year student at the University of Sheffield, whose final months at university ended abruptly due to COVID-19, decided to use her extra time to pioneer this group and start an honest conversation. Despite her own graduation being cancelled and the future uncertain, it was her conviction of God’s heart for injustice that led her to act selflessly, educate herself and encourage others to do the same. Nicole said:
“This is our first step in committing to confronting and challenging racism in ourselves and in our communities. We think it is important that we as Christians and a church community learn how to engage well with difficult topics and we aim to make this a safe space for voices to be heard, experiences to be shared, and to educate ourselves.”
The conversation around racism and injustice continues to be one that invites all students in, and it's students like Nicole who are using their platform to highlight God's heart for injustice.
This is not the first time we’ve seen students pioneer change.
If you are leading students, how are you allowing space for students to lead and pioneer?
If you are a student, how are you living out the calling God has put on your heart as a student?