Students organized a peaceful demonstration and protest of police brutality and racism in the University Center plaza on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Bre Stevens, a senior communications major with a focus in journalism, organized the event in order to both inform and encourage change on campus. Around 50 members of the campus community participated in the event, including students, faculty, staff and administration. Stevens spoke to the group before leading them in a prayer circle and a march through campus.
“Today we want to rally everybody for peace, to bring light to some of the injustices that are happening throughout the country when it comes to police brutality and the black community,” Stevens said.
President Alisa White attended the event in order to support student activism and free speech. She also said she supported Stevens’ message and the peaceful manner in which it was presented.
Stevens organized the event after seeing instances of police brutality around the nation and after a personal experience with discrimination on campus.
At APSU, the student body consists of 9,814 undergraduate students. 5,792 of which are white, 1,805 of which are black/African-American, 521 mixed race, 161 Asian, 37 American-Indian, 23 with unknown race and 22 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
In order to promote diversity on campus, White hired David Davenport as the chief diversity officer of the university.
The President of the APSU NAACP, Frank Burns, was also in attendance at the event. Burns, a junior, participated in the event to show solidarity with the demonstration and Stevens’ message.
Burns, who is also a SGA Senator, said he plans to introduce legislation to SGA promoting diversity on campus. Burns plans on proposing a statue of Wilma Rudolph be placed on campus by the university.
Stevens said she hopes the demonstration will promote discussion and understanding amongst the campus community. Stevens then said she hopes people who see the demonstration can understand her message.
“I hope that they see that people, all different background, can come together for one common purpose of not losing another life to police brutality, because all of us are affected by police in some shape, form or fashion,” Stevens said.[huge_it_gallery id=”6 “]
Students, faculty and staff gather together in the UC plaza on Wednesday, Sept. 28, to show support for the Black Lives Matter demonstration. Chaneice Jackson | The All State