By Shelby Brown–
U of L students’ hectic year was marked by activism. From die-ins to marches, students made their voices heard in Louisville. The Cardinal looks back on 2016-2017 student protests.
Black Lives Matter
More than 200 students clad in black held a “die in” for Black Lives Matter Sept. 29. Demonstrators silently lay on the SAC ramp for an hour to raise awareness of police brutality. A banner hung from the top of the ramp reading “#ItsBlackeningHere.” The line of students stretched to the Interfaith Center. Others held signs reading “I can’t breathe,” “End Police Brutality” or the names of individuals killed by police.
President Donald Trump victory protest
Louisville citizens poured into the streets, shutting some down to protest Trump’s win on Nov. 14. Protestors marched with signs, chanting “not our president” and “black lives matter.”
Election results sent shock waves through campus. Someone scribbled “Trump #buildthatwall” in chalk on the Thinker statue. U of L cheerleader Brynn Baker‘s controversial election tweets resulted in her suspension from the squad.
Hate speech protest
Following the statue defacement and Baker’s tweets, students picketed around Bingham Hall Nov. 15. With signs listing marginalized groups, demonstrators sought to show hate is not welcome at U of L.
Cold weather didn’t deter students from joining thousands at the Muhammad Ali Center Jan. 30 to protest Trump’s travel ban. Mayor Greg Fischer spoke, openly opposing the ban.
The executive order banned individuals from Muslim-majority countries and suspended refugee entry. The order has since been blocked by multiple U.S. district judges despite revisions.
Defend My Degree rally
State officials and students assembled in the Capitol rotunda, advocating for higher education Feb 13. Many said the Powerball promise, the tradition of giving money from the lottery to education funds, should resume. Governor Matt Bevin stopped the practice.
Vice President Mike Pence’s visit
Pence stopped in Louisville to plug the Affordable Care Act’s replacement March 11. While the Vice President met with Bevin and Harshaw Trane management, hundreds of protestors lined the sidewalks outside. U of L students and alumni participated.
Trump’s March visit
Protestors congregated around Freedom Hall before the Trump rally March 21. Individuals attempting to speak out during the rally were promptly removed. Police attempted to separate demonstrators and supporters after the rally to avoid conflict.
Take Back the Night
Students marched through campus against sexual assault and domestic violence April 4. Before the march, organizations held a resource fair outside. Speakers addressed a standing room only audience and survivors shared their stories.
Out of Darkness Walk
The 2nd annual Out of Darkness Walk drew more than 200 and raised more than $10,400 for suicide awareness April 9. Funds will pay for educational tools and be distributed to suicide prevention chapters across Kentucky.