By Jesse Wood
Dec. 5, 2014. In the wake of grand juries declining to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, dozens of Appalachian State University students, including faculty, participated in a “Black Lives Matter” solidarity demonstration by holding a “die-in/lie-in” on Friday afternoon on the Sanford Mall on campus.
“All are welcome to assemble with us in peaceful protest of our overaggressive, apparently unimpeachable, militarized, and white supremacist policing culture,” according to a local Facebook events page announcing the demonstration.
At noon, the protesters were invited to “die-in/lie-in” for four and one-half minutes in reference to the four and one-half hours that Brown spent on the ground after he was killed. Then the plan was for for protesters to repeat this stance at the International Hallway “for maximum exposure and to highlight that black and brown bodies are disproportionately targeted (for violence and other things) weather [sic] they exist on the street or in an academic setting. They were then to read the names of the deceased and gave details surrounding the deaths of people of color at the hands of police officers.
At 12:30 p.m., the plan was for “die-in” volunteers to be traced with chalk on the sidewalks on Sanford Mall, and then for another “die-in” to be repeated at the Central Dining Hall.
Participants engaged in call-and-response chants and held up numerous signs representing particular deaths around the country: “Keeneth [sic] Chamberlain, 66: ‘Officers, why do you have your gun out?’ and “Eric Garner: ‘I can’t breathe.’”
Another sign read, “A young black man is killed every 28 hours. #Enough is Enough.”
Another demonstration is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 8.