Campus News

Garner: I can’t breathe

Students rally after disputed Grand Jury decisions

By: Rich Meyer ~Copy Editor~

Xavier students joined the many protests that have taken place across the country in the last two weeks in response to racial profiling and police brutality which has garnered national attention. About 100 protestors were present at the event, which took place on Dec. 6 before the men’s basketball game against Alabama.

A New York grand jury ruled on Dec. 3 that the court would not indict Daniel Pantaleo, a white police officer, for killing Eric Garner, a black male, in Staten Island, N.Y.

Pantaleo was caught on tape while putting Garner in a chokehold, leading to Garner’s death in July 2014.

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Students and members of the Xavier community joined protestors from across the country following Grand Jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y.

The decision came a week after the announcement that a Missouri grand jury would not be indicting Darren Wilson for his role in the death of teenager Michael Brown.

“One of our main objectives for holding the protest was to raise awareness for the injustices occurring in our society,” Ladies with Emphasis on Achievement and Distinction (LEAD) President Narrean Marsden said. “Many times, racially charged issues aren’t discussed within the Xavier community. We felt that the killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner were events that the entire campus needed to be aware of.”

Many protests have been in the form of “die-ins” during which people lie on the ground to symbolize dead bodies.

“There were two intended outcomes of the protest. The first was to show solidarity with the families of victims and other groups who are concerned with the failure of our justice system to value the black male life,” President of Gentlemen Organized for Achievement and Leadership (GOAL) Chuma Nnawulezi said. “The second was to demonstrate to the university community that the events of the past week are relevant and important to members of our community.”

Several student groups collaborated to protest including the Black Student Association, GOAL and LEAD.BSA 2 police

Protestors included people of different ethnicities, non-students and faculty members. President, Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. also joined the protest.

The protestors received prior approval from the Office of Student Involvement as well as the Xavier Police Department to ensure safety for both protestors and others attending the game.
The protests follow from others like it across the country, some of which have even been organized by celebrities and high-profile athletes (see page 4).

“I simply hope that this protest triggered the need for further conversations about what is going on in parts of the country such as Ferguson, Staten Island, Phoenix, Cleveland and so forth. It doesn’t end after the protest. I believe we all must continue to seek solutions that will better our communities,” Marsden said.