Students laid on the ground in a line outside the SAC to protest police brutality at noon today.Photos by Sarah Rohleder / The Louisville Cardinal
By Tyler Hudson–
More than 200 University of Louisville students gathered on the SAC ramp today to make a statement about black lives and police brutality.
“The purpose of this protest is to interrupt U of L students’ normal daily lives, and show that the events that are going on in our nation are relevant to everybody,” Jamaica Williams said.
The protest was an effort to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. Students participating wore all-black and laid face down on the ramp leading up to the SAC.
“You don’t get to continue life as normal when there are people of a certain race dying, and that’s what we are trying to bring awareness to today,” Williams said.
At exactly noon, a banner was dropped at the top of the SAC ramp that read: “#ItsBlackeningHere.” As the banner dropped, so did more than 150 students in a line down the ramp, almost passing the Interfaith Center.
Along the way up the ramp, protesters stood holding signs that read “How Many More?” or “I Could Be Next.” Other supporters held up signs with names such as “Freddie Gray” or “Trayvon Martin.”
Students laid face down and stayed silent for a full hour, making a statement on the many black lives that have been lost in the wake of police brutality.
Before the protest, Wesley Turner, an organizer of the event, shared why he was there.
“I’m tired of going to class and hearing ‘Brad and Angeline broke up’. What about Terrence who got shot? We’re here to show that the black lives of U of L and their allies are ready,” Turner said.
The protest was intended to be silent, mainly because Turner and others believe awareness is more important than arguing.
“It was important for us to use silence because we are tired of explaining why black lives matter, we are tired of explaining why police brutality is a problem, and we are done being the ones educating people on issues that deal with minorities,” Turner said. “We were not here to argue or educate; we were simply there to bring awareness to the issue of police brutality and to make sure U of L students know the black and brown community is done being the ones educating on it.”
This event included not only members of the student body, but many faculty members as well. Ricky Jones, chair of the U of L Pan-African Studies Department, says this problem is evolving and changing with our country.
“You’re seeing students more involved, you’re seeing musicians more involved, you’re seeing athletes more involved. It’s every corner of the country. It’s an interracial, multi-generational movement. The country is changing, and we’re seeing it here on this campus as well,” Jones said.
After an hour of lying down on the ramp, the protesters stood together at the top chanting, “No justice, no peace! No racist police!”
Turner said that the major goals of the demonstration were to empower and unify the campus around this issue.
“We shouldn’t have to keep arguing and trying to convince people that police brutality needs to stop. Change only comes when we are united,” Turner said.
Photos by Sarah Rohleder // The Louisville Cardinal