SU Die-In Protesting Police Brutality

Campus die-in demonstrators honor black lives lost

The midday protest drew hundreds of onlookers to the university Promenade in an effort to challenge police brutality.

Syracuse University students staged a “Die-In” Wednesday afternoon at the Promenade where dozens of participants fell to the ground to raise awareness about recent police killings of unarmed black men across the country.

Starting at 12:30 p.m., the students laid still for 10 minutes to represent the fact that only 10 of the 102 cases of unarmed black people killed by police in 2015 resulted in officers being charged with a crime, according to a statement from organizers.

Photo: Bryan Cereijo
Demonstrators laid on the university Promenade for 10 minutes Wednesday to symbolize the 102 black individuals killed by police in 2015.

“[The recent killings] made me realize just how disposable black bodies are,” one organizer said in a speech at the protest. “And when they are being disposed of they are seen as a spectacle. The numbers increase day by day, hour by hour.”

Organizers requested not to be named so that attention would be on the issue rather than any individuals.

The recent killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alfred Olango in California and Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma have brought the issue of police bruatlity into the national spotlight this month, with protests occurring across the country.

SU students decided to show solidarity by organizing the university’s first die-in, entirely through word-of mouth and under no umbrella organization.

“This is a visual representation of our words,” one organizer said. “Sometimes it’s easier to see than hear.”

Writing and public communications senior Phelicia Ball heard about the demonstration through a group chat and decided to participate.

“I feel like personally a lot of students are oblivious to what’s going,” Ball said. “Most of the white students have been silent and I hate that. So I think it’s important for them to see it live.”

One organizer said that this demonstration was not just against nationwide killings of black individuals, but against injustices faced by black students at SU. She said that a lack of access to resources, a lack of faculty diversity and derogatory remarks from professors are some of the challenges they face.

"This is on our mind 24/7," she said. "We can’t just turn it off when we go to class when there are microaggressions in the classroom. These things matter. Our lives matter."

Pointing out that Oct. 5 did not have a specific tie to the Black Lives Matter movement, one organizer said that incidents of violence against black people can happen at any time.

“We’re dying everyday,” she said. “The day doesn’t matter.”

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