Nearly 50 SF State students rallied in Malcolm X Plaza Monday before joining a mass march through the streets of Berkeley to protest recent police killings of unarmed black men.
The rally was organized by SF State’s Black and Brown Liberation Coalition and focused on the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both killed by officers who were recently not charged of any crimes by two separate grand juries. After the rally on campus, students joined more than 1,000 protesters in Berkeley.
The marchers shouted slogans, shut down traffic and forced buses to reroute. Interstate 80 and Amtrak trains were both blocked by protesters. Students chanted “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” and waved protest signs that read “a badge is not a license to kill” and “black lives matter.
“A lot of people were really angry and were like ‘what can we do right now?’” said BBLC member Imani Davis. “It’s not that we want no police, but we don’t want them shooting people and not getting indicted.”
The coalition first started when several SF State students gathered to hear a speech about Brown’s death, according to BBLC founder Brittany Moore. She urged student groups to work together to address issues in marginalized communities, such as police violence and inequality in the education system.
“The ultimate goals are to address institutional and structural racism,” Moore said. Since the group started, the BBLC has worked with diverse student groups like the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavour and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.
Other activities the BBLC organized this semester include the “die in” in late October, where students wore the names of victims of police shooting on their shirts and mimicked death to raise awareness of police violence.
Some BBLC members said they have personally experienced police discrimination and violence that has resulted in the loss of family members and friends.
“I worked in the East Bay in a very suburban neighborhood,” said BBLC member DeMareon Gipson, who said his previous interactions with police have been less than civil. “I’ve been pulled over a lot.”
Members of the BBLC said they want officers who kill civilians to be held accountable and to raise awareness of these instances.
“I never would have thought there would be extra-judicial killings in the United States,” said SF State student and BBLC and PACE member Patrick Racela. “It is our duty to break free from these chains that have us shackled.”