The Black Student Union marched against police brutality yesterday, leading a column of students through the campus in complete silence.
At noon BSU members took a vow of silence and gathered in front of North Hall to meet on behalf of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The ominously quiet march, marked only by footsteps and the applause of onlookers, proceeded through the Arbor and wrapped around campus before concluding at the MultiCultural Center. At the MCC, participants took to the stage to share personal stories about the effects of police brutality on their lives.
One speaker, Aaron Jones, a graduate student and BSU staff member, advised the audience to educate others about the injustice of police brutality.
“We have the capability to be proactive in monitoring what the police are doing in our communities,” Jones said. “It’s our right.”
During his speech, Jones also emphasized student activism as a means of bringing to light the isolated instances of police brutality which are commonly ignored by the media and general public.
Organized by BSU president Anthony Grant, a third-year sociology major and black studies minor, the silent march is part of a weeklong series of events dubbed ‘The Vote.’
Members of the BSU also stressed the direct impacts of police brutality on students, referencing the anti-war protest that took place on campus last year in which police were called to break up the protest.
After his vow of silence ended, Chris Martin, a third-year English and history major, said he and the other BSU members were using symbolic protest to draw attention to police brutality.
“[It’s to] achieve a statement,” Martin said. “We want action and we don’t need prolific speakers, its [not necessary for] words, we’re doing it through action.”
At one point yesterday, as the march snaked through campus, an onlooker approached the procession to ask how the public could put and an end to racial profiling. His inquiries were met with silence.