By Morgan Andersen, Staff Writer
On Nov. 1, the Black Student Union organized a silent, peaceful protest. Over 50 people came to stand and participate in the protest, which started in Campus Center and progressed into the courtyard.
I was able to speak with executive board members Jocelyne Hakizimana, Channon Jamison, Karvell Mitchell and Christina Johnson. While speaking with them, it was clear that they had thought about this and had very clear goals and messages behind this protest.
The inspiration behind this came from a friend that saw the nationwide movement and protests that were happening at many college campuses. Due to St. John Fisher being a smaller campus, this is one of the first protests like this to bring awareness to racial conflicts that aren’t really discussed here.
The goals for this protest included creating a space for open dialogue, and to make sure that people on campus felt comfortable expressing their support with such a controversial topic. The main concept was to get it out there that it’s okay to talk about race no matter what race you are.
When asked what specifically they were hoping for students and faculty to understand, the E-Board members responded,“We want to bring awareness to the campus about the things going on in society today, specifically police brutality and minorities lives…basically changing the way we view it. The first thing you hear is that a white cop shot a black kid, that’s it, no one digs deeper to find the real story behind it. If you dig deeper you realize, no matter what race, no matter who it was, that person was a human and a life was lost.”
Even the shirt that many of the protesters were wearing had a purpose. The shirt design that read “I am,” to make people realize that we are more than just our skin color or race. Karvell Mitchell believed that this silent protest focused more on the individual aspect, because it’s about building community. The silent protest wouldn’t have had the turnout it ended up having if they had simply focused on Black Lives Matter.
The reaction by students and faculty varied from glancing at the signs, some stopping to read the signs, and so on. However, it was very clear that many people took some level of interest in what was going on.