At 11:30 am Thursday morning, more than 200 students streamed out of their classes chanting “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace.” They gathered on the North Lawn of Frist Campus Center, where they joined faculty and staff in expressing their solidarity with the demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, and demanding an end to “racialized state violence.” The protests were a response to decisions by two grand juries not to indict police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
“Today we interrupt the daily routine of Princeton students, faculty, and staff to draw attention to a national problem, a national disease, a plague that is American racism and racialized state violence,” senior Khallid Love said at the protest.
Dressed in black with their hands raised, the protesters had a moment of silence in solidarity with demonstrations around the country. The protesters proceeded to conduct a 45-minute “die-in,” a form of nonviolent demonstration in which participants lie down on the ground to simulate death.
Students’ bodies were sprawled all over the Frist North Lawn, as well as the walkway and stairs leading into the campus center. Many passersby, mostly students walking to and from class, stopped to snap a picture and reflect on the scene. Several even joined in.
The protest was organized by student activists who are part of a “Post-Ferguson at Princeton” movement. Plans for the demonstration spread via social media.
Concluding the die-in, senior Joanna Anwanyu implored the crowd to “keep the conversation going, so we can dismantle racism.” A debrief discussion sponsored by the Center for African American Studies was held after the protest. Last week, on the evening of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson, student demonstrators also marched down Prospect Avenue.