By Jesse Wood
Dec. 8, 2014. “ASU in Solidarity” protesters on the campus of Appalachian State University had a loud – and silent – presence on Monday, the second day of demonstrations protesting “an over-aggressive policing culture” towards people of color.
More than 100 students participated on Monday – as students enacted “die-ins” for four and half minutes, which represented the four and a half hours that Michael Brown was on the ground after he was shot and killed by a police officer – who later wasn’t indicted by a grand jury – in Ferguson, Mo.. They also did loud call-and-response marches that voiced, “No justice. No peace. Hands up. Don’t Shoot.”
The chants were led by organizer Mary Lyons, a junior art education major, who spoke through a bullhorn.
As for the silent part of the protest, individuals put white tape over their mouths. The white tape represented “White Silence=White Consent.” Lyons said on Monday that white people are “consenting to racism if they remain silent.”
She also voiced a disclaimer at the beginning of the protest on Monday that these “Black Lives Matter Solidarity Demonstrations” do not invalidate people of other races.
The protest started at 3 p.m. on Monday inside the Belk Library, where participants covered their mouths with the tape as they entered the rotunda of the library. Then, the protesters took off the tape and marched to the Central Dining Hall in call-and-response fashion.
Inside the dining facility, one person read the last words of Eric Garner, a man who died from a chokehold from a police officer, who also wasn’t indicted, in New York. His last words included the repetition of “I can’t breathe” nearly a dozen times.
Then, they marched to B.B. Dougherty Hall, an administration building, where protesters stood on all floors of the building. Another “die-in” occurred inside the Plemmons Student Union. One protester took over the bullhorn and questioned why more diversity scholarships opportunities weren’t available for people of color, while plenty are set aside for football.
“This is about a larger issue than one or two incidents of police brutality. This is about the systemic, ingrained, and ever perpetuating effects of institutionalized racism,” Lyons said in a prior release.
See photos from first protest on Friday here.
For more information, visit the protest Facebook page “Black Lives Matter Solidarity Demonstrations.”