Black Students Matter LUC, a student group that fights for black students’ rights, hosted a demonstration late Monday afternoon in the East Quad, calling for an end police brutality.
More than 300 Loyola students, faculty, staff and community members attended to show their support. Women identifying as black stood on the steps in front of the Information Commons holding signs while others gathered in front of them.
Black Students Matter LUC member Jason Pica II said he wanted to create a space for African-American students to express and process their emotions.
“We [from Black Students Matter LUC] all wanted to have a place to talk about the violence that’s been ongoing these past couple years, but more specifically the past two weeks, with the shootings in Missouri and the one in South Carolina,” said the 20-year-old senior.
Earlier in the day, Black Students Matter LUC gathered in the Damen Student Center for a die-in, in which students laid on the ground as if they were dead.
After about 20 minutes of lying on the ground, the protesters stood up and held their fists in the air in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement and proceeded silently into the Black Cultural Center in Damen. Some observers in the crowd raised their fists in the air in support.
At the late afternoon demonstration, various students from Black Students Matter LUC gave speeches on police brutality, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to add 1,000 police officers to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the change in demonstration policy that allowed them to demonstrate. Chants from the crowd included “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like” and “Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom, all these racist-a — cops, we don’t need em, need em.”
Junior Keesha Whitley Moliere led chants at the demonstration and said she was there to stand in solidarity with minority students. She said she also wanted to make it known that black students are fed up.
“We cannot keep letting black people die. We cannot keep letting disabled people die, trans people die, queer people die or Native American people die by the hands of a militarized police force,” said the psychology major.
The demonstration continued with a march up Sheridan Road to Granville Avenue, where the protestors stopped to sit in the street. The march then continued on Granville Avenue, down Kenmore Avenue and back to the East Quad. CPD officers on bikes and foot monitored traffic for the event while additional officers redirected traffic southbound on Sheridan Road.
Senior Matthew Morrison said he participated in the demonstration because he wanted to raise awareness about police brutality and the issues that the black community faces on a daily basis.
“I think the issues today are really big in big cities like Chicago, and I think it’s so prominent in Chicago with the violence that’s going on and some of the rhetoric in the news,” said the film and digital media major. “So I think it’s important for especially college students to have these kind of protests and have these kinds of talks, to kind of dispute some of the myths that are out there in the media about violence and brutality.”
First-year undecided major Loren Mendez said social injustice brought her to the demonstration.
“It’s not right for people to be systematically oppressed for something they can’t control, like the color of their skin,” said the 18-year-old. “People are being hurt and killed daily with no consequences to the oppressors.”
Mendez said students can and should be heard.
“We’re here proving that we can get a point across and that we are the ones who can change the system,” she said.
The demonstration concluded on Loyola’s East Quad with members of Black Students Matter LUC sharing songs and poems while encouraging others who gathered to share their thoughts on police brutality.
Pica said he was happy with the turnout.
“Today was wonderful …. We are thankful nothing negative happened,” he said.