Members of Black Students United marched from the Center for Intercultural Dialogue to Ho Plaza on Friday.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Members of Black Students United marched from the Center for Intercultural Dialogue to Ho Plaza on Friday.

September 23, 2016

Black Students United Rallies Against ‘Senseless and Unjust’ Police Violence

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While for many, names like Trayvon Martin, Cornelius Brown and Alton Sterling represent stories to be read in the news, for over a hundred faculty, staff, administrators and students, the names are a call to action.

Members of Black Students United gathered at the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and marched to Ho Plaza on Friday, chanting slogans such as “black lives matter,” “no justice, no peace” and “they say get back, we say fight back.”

Delmar Fears ’19 expressed a need to take action after the “senseless and unjust murders of innocent black people.”

“Too many innocent lives have been taken, and far too few voices have spoken out against it,” she told the crowd before the rally. “I implore you, speak your voices and lend your hands, so that no more lives are needlessly taken.”
Others echoed the same sentiment, adding that they are tired of meaningless actions, including discussions and forums that do not result in concrete action.

BSU co-president Jaylexia Clark ’19 read a speech by Prof. Russell Rickford, history, discussing the “fallacies” that “the corporate power structure aggressively propagates” to maintain its influence.

“The managers of the status quo hate resistance,” Clark read from the speech. “So they try to guide any dissent that arises into ‘safe’ channels. You will notice a proliferation of forums, discussions, and meetings organized by system administrators and devoted to ‘dialogue’ and ‘awareness.’”

Marchers shout "hands up, don't shoot" at a Black Students United rally on Friday.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Others voiced their frustration with what they have been hearing on the news. Kayla Lewis ’17, said that rather than support on social media, she wants to take real action.

“I’m tired and I’m upset,” she said. “There’s only so much retweeting I can do.”

Lewis added that she hopes the rally will encourage people to examine the racial issues that have been prevalent in recent national discourse.

“People often live a real sheltered life up here. That’s what I’ve observed,” she said. “What I want them to do is start questioning. Ask their friends, go on the internet. If you have a phone, if you have internet access, you shouldn’t be confused about what’s happening here. Go get as upset as I am.”

Protestors raise their fists at a Black Students United Rally on Friday.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Protestors raise their fists at a Black Students United Rally on Friday.

Former co-president of BSU Samari Gilbert ’17 and BSU advisor Renee Alexander ’74 called the rally successful, saying the level of support demonstrated by those on campus — including dean of student and campus life Ryan Lombardi — was encouraging.

“I’ve been watching the protests in Charlotte,” Alexander said. “There are some broader issues shaping student activism, national issues that are pressing down on our college campuses and I’m really happy to see our students responding in a way that makes us know that they are involved in the issues.”

Despite the success of the rally, the march is far from the last word from the group, according to Gaylord Minett ’17.

“This is not the last thing that we’re going to do,” he said. “This is just a display of the initiative that we’re taking as Black Lives Matter. By no means does this do anything, it just shows people that this is what the fuck we standing for … Everything else we do follows this initiative.”

  • Sam

    Bunch of idiots! Where were they when a black person was murdered on campus???? (presumable by someone else who is black, although no details of that). I don’t care who did the murdering (black, white, asia, purple)-that is when BLM should have protested!!!!!!! Cornell needs to start teaching these students… Instead of considering “more liberal arts”, maybe these students need more math/physics/bio/chem/cs-so they actually have to sit and study instead of wasting time!

  • Pops

    The BLM crowd is worthless. Where is the outrage at all the black-on-black killing?

  • John

    Let’s form a petition!
    I’m mad as hell and I’m not going
    to take it anymore!

  • Sam

    Petition: anyone protesting immediately loses their scholarship/loans/grants and has to pay out of pocket (with full tuition due in 15 days)…

  • Hotelie Alum

    Meanwhile, the family of Anthony Nazaire awaits justice. They may be waiting a long, long time. I hope not. If this group were to practice what it preaches, they would be reaching out to every person who attended the Omega Psi Phi party, asking all to gather with their cellphones to review the footage of that terrible night. Mr. Nazaire’s life mattered too…

  • Disgustedalum

    Agree 100% with above. Why don’t black lives matter when it’s black on black murder/assault etc.? How can you stand on the same grounds where a Black student was murdered during orientation week most likely by another black person present at the party and say nothing of that? There is still an unsolved murder in which an investigation seems to be going nowhere .and nobody is receiving any information regarding any updates. Why are there not protests going on about this terrible tragedy and it’s lack of progression in obtaining answers to what happened ??????? We all understand and see what’s going on around the country regarding police officers and the unjust use of force in many cases and deaths as a result of this. But holy crap you had a murder but holy crap you had a murder right on the campus you are stepping through every day and you don’t see this as a huge priority if you choose to protest something ?????? Protest for a fellow student in your community and an unsolved murder right on your doorsteps people !!!!! Do something on your college campus which may actually be productive and make more of a statement to the local authorities and colleges with actually hits closer to “home” ie outside your own student union ?? HELLO??????

  • ping

    When was the last time a student protest, at Cornell or elsewhere did something good? They always seem completely pointless or sometimes even harmful.

  • Cindy Jackson

    “People live all sheltered up here . . . what I want them to do is start questioning.” Amen. First question is who murdered Anthony Nazaire? Who knows and who isn’t talking? You are not living such a sheltered life . . .you are living a life on a campus where a murderer may be sitting in class with you. Work for justice, press for justice and come forward for justice.

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