[dropcap style=”box”]A[/dropcap]t the sound of three bangs, dozens of bodies dropped to the ground of Malcolm X Plaza today as a part of a “Die In” demonstration for people killed by police brutality.
Hosted by the Black and Brown Liberation Coalition in collaboration with the Student Union of San Francisco, the action took part in the National Day of Awareness Against Police Brutality. The demonstrators pointed to the deaths of San Francisco’s Alex Neito and, more recently, Michael Brown as a need for urgent change.
“The idea is we want to occupy the space, we want to make it so—yes people have places to go, they will be able get to, we will not stop or block anybody, but you’re going to have to physically step over people,” said Brittany Moore of the Black and Brown Liberation Coalition. “Everyday we continue with the normalcy of our lives as if this isn’t a tremendous issue because it‘s not right in front of our faces.”
Around 30 marchers flooded into the Malcolm X Plaza chanting “black and brown lives matter.” Clad in shirts donning slogans like “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” statistics and names of victims of police brutality, the group spread out across the plaza and dropped “dead” at the sound of simulated gunfire.
“I saw a bunch of people on the ground but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. I started reading the signs and then I knew what was going on,” said business major Jake Hocedai.
The bodies blocked major walkways and forced students to work around the demonstration. Chalk outlines of the bodies emulated a large crime scene, which drew a crowd of onlookers.
“Our goal with this event is to bring more awareness so that way more students can join us in our activism and join us in making it clear that what is going on now in Ferguson,” said Yesenia Mendez, a biology major who participated in the event. “Not only in Ferguson but everywhere throughout the United States. Every 28 hours life is getting lost because of police brutality.”
Poetry and speeches followed a moment of silence to honor victims of police brutality. The speeches covered topics of police militarization, racial profiling and the arming of University police. Slogans and statistics were pasted on banners surrounding the demonstrators.
The BBLC plans to organize two task forces in the coming months, according to Moore. One will address issues of police brutality and the other will target the education of young minority groups.
“Police brutality doesn’t just affect those deemed criminal, it allows for the militarization of the police, it allows for our rights to be trampled on,” Moore said. “We have to continue to work for these justices or they will be taken away from us.“