On Thursday, hundreds of students gathered in the University Center Lobby with placards reading “#BlackLivesMatter,” “#ThisStopsNow” and “I Can’t Breathe.” Then, at about 1 p.m., they collapsed to the floor.
They remained motionless for a full 11 minutes—the same number of times Eric Garner said, “I can’t breathe,” as he was put in a choke hold by a New York City Police officer.
The latest in a week of events leading up to the #MillionsMarchNYC on Saturday, the “die-in” was a chance for students to make their voices in heard over the deaths of Garner, Michael Brown and police injustice against people of color.
Following the action, students took turns sharing words of reflection, including “solidarity,” “understanding,” “resolve,” “frustration,” “family” and “forgiveness.” Tsige Tafesse, one of the organizers of The New School Students Against Police Brutality (TNS_SAPB), then led fellow students in a chant of solidarity.
“Show me what community looks like!” / “This is what community looks like!”
#MillionsMarchNYC is a demonstration against police brutality planned for Saturday in Washington Square Park. New School students participating in the march should meet in the University Center’s Baldwin Rivera Boggs Social Justice Hub at 1 p.m. for risk assessment and safety training. On Sunday, there will be a community check-in/reflection at the same location.
“We are proud of the voices, ideas, and actions that have emerged at The New School in response to recent events,” President David Van Zandt said in a message to the university. “Faculty, staff, and students are thinking about how we can use our unique strengths as a higher education institution to engage difficult and complex issues.”
Van Zandt encouraged every member the university community who chooses to participate in protests to be “attuned to the safety of themselves and others.”
Added Van Zandt: “We are a community that embraces and supports free expression and nonviolent activism.”
Upcoming events hosted by The New School Students Against Police Brutality in conjunction with #MillionsMarchNYC:
*Open Mic/Poster-Making Session — Friday, December 12, 8 p.m. University Center Baldwin Rivera Boggs Social Justice Hub, 63 5th Avenue, 5th Floor
*Risk-Assessment & Safety Teach-In — Saturday, December 13, 1 p.m. University Center Baldwin Rivera Boggs Social Justice Hub, 63 5th Avenue, 5th Floor; followed by procession to #MillionsMarchNYC.
*Post-March Reflection — Sunday, December 14, TBD. University Center Baldwin Rivera Boggs Social Justice Hub, 63 5th Avenue, 5th Floor.
For more information, visit TNS_SAPB’s Facebook event page.