Black lives matter (even at Saint Anselm College).
"So here we are this afternoon, lying down for four and a half minutes to bring attention to the everyday issue of racial justice in the United States,” was part of a statement read by India Barrows ‘16, before a crowd in the dining hall at Saint Anselm College.
Despite the fact they are in the midst of preparing for final exams, a dedicated group of students decided that today was the day to speak up. Like thousands of other people across the country, they staged a silent “die-in” demonstration in both dining halls on campus to protest the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and overall systematic abuse of people of color.
Students wore black clothing and held signs with statements like “Black Lives Matter,” “Hands up Don’t Shoot,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “Stop Police Brutality.” They lay on the floor for four minutes to represent the four hours that Brown’s body was left on the street after he was shot.
At the end of the “die-in” students exited with the “hands up, don't shoot" pose which has served as rallying cry that has begun to define a movement. They walked from Davison, the main dining hall, to the Coffee Shop where they reenacted the “die-in.”
Although the event was organized exclusively by students in the Multicultural Student Coalition, some faculty and staff joined in to show their support. According to Nyatan Bol ’17, “I participated because I am tired of being complacent. Not saying anything validates those who oppress us.”
Reflecting back on the experience, one participant said that what she witnessed was symbolic of what is happening in society today: “Some people stopped and gave us encouraging comments, asked questions and even joined us. Others did not even look our way. They pretended like nothing was happening.”
One of the main goals of the “die-in” was to generate dialogue. A follow-up discussion is being planned for next semester to help facilitate these conversations.
Below are additional photos taken at the "Die-In" held at Saint Anselm College.