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Black Student Association holds demonstation

BSA honored the victims of two recent police shooting, while simultaneously raising awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement

Mackenzie Clark
News Editor

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, members of the Black Student Association (BSA) gathered outside of Lowry Center to stand in solidarity with the families and friends of victims of recent police shootings, such as Tyre King, Terence Crutcher and others. These shootings, as well as the deaths of numerous other African-Americans at the hands of police, have prompted protests across the country. BSA organized this protest to raise awareness about this issue on campus and in the city of Wooster.

“We just wanted to have an act of solidarity and standing in,” said BSA President Chadwick Smith ’17. “We didn’t want to do something elaborate or complicated. We just wanted something that people could show up to and stop what they were doing and stand for these people that have been killed.”

Students on their way to Lowry Center were met with protesters who chanted the names of African-Americans who have been killed in police shootings. The protesters’ chants also stressed the importance of remembrance, love and support in light of these shootings.

“I was impressed with their timing and effectiveness, given how recent the events were,” said Eli Millette ’17, a spectator.

Emerald Rutledge ’17, an officer of BSA, expressed optimism about the impact the protest had on the community.

“I can definitely say that I thought the protest was extremely powerful but difficult at the same time,” said Rutledge. “As a black person navigating this predominantly white campus and living the reality that folks like me, my age, are being killed by police is terrifying. I think I can say many black students feel that fear and difficulty of being few in number on campus during a time like this across the country.”

In regards to what the College has already done, Smith is grateful for the different resources made available to students, like counselors at the Longbrake Wellness Center and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) in Babcock Hall.

“I think that maybe we need another campus-wide discussion about why this is important and why our daily routines don’t matter in light of black people being murdered in the streets,” said Smith. “There has to be a conversation about the presence of police in black communities. If we can learn what the presence of police in black communities means, we can finally understand why black people are afraid of the police. This isn’t an irrational fear, this is something that we’ve lived with since before slavery. This is a systemic issue that has been going on for a long time, so I really want people to educate themselves about the issue,” said Smith.

Looking toward the future, BSA plans to continue raising awareness about the issues being faced by African-Americans in the College’s community and across the country. BSA is also working with administration to further education and conversation on campus.

“Chad and myself have been working with CDI and President Bolton on some events that will really help broaden the conversation and help folks to understand why we must say ‘black lives matter,’” said Rutledge.

“Become educated on the issue because it is so important and once you have that knowledge, then you’ll understand our struggle,” said Smith. “I would even go as far as to say that once you know why we’re here, then you can join in and stand with this cause as well and not just be a bypasser.”

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