Black Lives Matter event addresses police brutality
UH students joined together to take part in the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People’s silent museum Tuesday evening in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to honor the lives lost due to police brutality.
Members of the NAACP dispersed across Lynn Eusan Park baring signs which displayed the names of unarmed African-Americans who lost their lives to police shootings in recent years. They wore black from head to toe and placed strips of tape over their mouths to embody silence as the most powerful scream.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement became a viral hashtag in 2012 after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The movement, however, goes beyond the extrajudicial killings of black men and women and gives a platform for black people to have a voice.
“The #BlackLivesMatter movement is a way for the black community to come together a say enough is enough,” UH NAACP president and junior pre-pharmacy student Nneamaka Njokede said. “With this hashtag my generation can share their thoughts and concerns about what is truly going on in America.”
As the NAACP members stood in silence, students sang and recited poetry expressing the obstacles black men and women face on a day to day basis with law enforcement.
“We need to educate each other on how to conduct ourselves when facing police officers so we are less likely to be wrongfully treated,” Wesley Okereke, psychology junior and ambassador of NAACP said. “There is an alarming number of police officers who stereotype black people the minute they confront them.”
Following the silent museum, the NAACP welcomed onlookers to address any questions or concerns they had with guest speaker Elwyn Lee, vice president for community relations and institutional access.
“Instead of saying ‘I didn’t know that’ you all need to educate yourselves,” Lee said. “Become aware by reading the newspaper or turning on the news.”
Lee stressed that supporters of #BlackLivesMatter are not a hate group. Lee explained that the movement is meant to create unity among black men and women and to educate blacks and non-blacks on the killings of unarmed civilians.
“To the UH students who are not African-American, you should know that #BlackLivesMatter is not just a ‘black’ thing.” Okereke said. “Nobody is exempt from police injustices so it is up to us say all lives matter irrespective of skin color.”