University of Florida students hold die-in to protest police killings
Gainesville, FL – On Dec. 12, students and community members blocked the entrances to a basketball game between the University of Florida (UF) and Texas Southern University. The action was called as part of a growing movement to protest police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. This follows the failures to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death.
Around 130 people gathered at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center before the basketball game and held a die-in at the entrance as the doors opened. Then, the group moved to the student gate, blocking the entrance doors and the sidewalks leading to the other doors. Despite university personnel opening and closing certain entrances based on the location of the protesters, the group was able to finalize its position at the student entrance.
Trenton Brooks of the UF Dream Defenders explained, “Our action today was to show that people cannot just go about their lives as if it's simply business as usual. There are systemic problems in this country and ignoring them just isn't an option.”
Chants included “No justice! No peace! No racist police!” and one specifically for the occasion “You only care about us when we are in jerseys!”
Farah Khan, of UF Students for a Democratic Society, talked about the impact the protest had on the game, “It definitely shook people up and left both attendants of the game and administration completely disoriented. Not a single person at that game could ignore us.”