Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Florida State University, along with other groups including DREAM Defenders at FSU and the Black Student Law Association at FSU College of Law, held a vigil at the FSU Union Green on Tuesday. The vigil was to honor the black lives lost to police violence.
Standing in the rain, students chanted and sang songs promoting peace and equality while holding candles in hand to tribute the lives lost to police brutality. Lead organizer of SDS, Regina Joseph, was pleased with the turnout and was excited to see how much students wanted to take action.
“Police have killed over 700 people in the U.S. in 2015 alone,” Joseph said. “These police crimes are also common in Tallahassee where many black people have been killed or brutalized, including Viola Young, Duane Strong and Jeremy ‘Jed’ Lett. This is why students must support the struggle against police crimes.”
On July 10, Texas police officer Brian Encinia brutally arrested Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman and college graduate, for an alleged traffic violation. She was found dead in her jail cell days later under suspicious circumstances. Sandra is only one name in a long list of black people who have recently faced brutal violence at the hands of a police force.
Sharing an umbrella and holding a “Justice for Sandra Bland” sign, Alyssa Rogers and Symone Cyrus, both first-year FSU engineering students from Palm Beach, Fla., expressed their thoughts on the event.
“I think the event has captured the message that young people all around the world are trying to do. These chants are something we shouldn’t just say, but live by,” said Rogers.
SDS stands against police repression and racial profiling. They also stand in solidarity with the people’s uprising in Ferguson, Mo. Symone Cyrus explained that the best way to get the message across is to create relationships within the community.
“It’s important for students not just in Tallahassee, but the whole United States, to understand what is happening in the world and want to make a difference. Not just for our generation but the ones to come after us.”
Students for a Democratic Society’s next meeting will be held on Sept. 11 at FSU Union room 321.