Students protest police brutality in fifth annual Silent Museum
Gathered around the Cullen Family Plaza Fountain and Reflecting Pool, the UH unit of the NAACP on Thursday held a silent protest against police brutality.
The fifth annual Silent Museum, “Now They See Us,” had members silently standing while holding posters of victims of police brutality to raise awareness of the lives lost.
“For the last five years, the ‘Silent Museum’ has served as a respectful, peaceful protest aimed to shed light on police brutality in America, as well as encourage students and community members to stand together against the institutional racism and state-sanctioned violence of Black people in America,” the event’s Facebook page said.
While the NAACP ran the event, they teamed up with multiple organizations for their protest this year. The Black Student Union, Black Pre-Law Association, Students of East Africa, Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine and several other organizations held signs silently alongside members of UH’s NAACP.
“The purpose of the Silent Museum is to peacefully and respectfully raise awareness for police brutality on a domestic and international scale,” said health senior Camden Luckett, president of NAACP at the University.
The NAACP was established in 1909 and is known to be America’s largest civil rights organization, according to their website. It was created in New York City by white and black civil rights activists, in response to violence against people of color around the U.S.
“NAACP is trying to break the stigma that we are only for just black people,” Luckett said. “As it says right in our title, colored people. That’s why we are emphasizing that this is a solidarity protest.”
Peaceful protests have been used for decades, most notably in the fight for civil rights. Peaceful protests have also been shown to be more effective in changing laws and governments.
“The experience was like no other, seeing a variety of posters with a picture, name, age, and reason for their death was empowering,” said an observer of the Silent Museum, broadcast journalism junior Sharae Corbin.
Throughout the day there were an array of different crowds interacting with the members of NAACP, from students on campus, to high school students visiting the University.
“Honestly just seeing them stand there, with no screaming made me more curious about what was going on,” Corbin added. “One of the guys holding a poster, was able to give me facts and statistics about the amount of deaths due to police brutality.”
The protest was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and while many students and visitors walked away, many also stayed to participate, ask questions or just observe.
“Silence commands its presence in its own unique and extremely effective way,” Luckett said. “By not saying anything you’re forced to look. But most importantly people are less intimidated when they feel comfortable to come up and speak.”