Leading up to and during this Thanksgiving break, many Penn students joined the national protest against a grand jury’s decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson, a white man, for shooting Michael Brown, a black teenager.
The case in Ferguson, Mo., garnered national attention as a symbol of racial tension between police officers and black civilians. Over the break, many students protested against police violence and to reform a legal system which they say discriminates against minorities.
Kendall Finlay, a College sophomore , was one of these students. Finlay said he participated in the march on Nov. 25, where a group of Penn students marched from campus to Temple University in North Philadelphia, joining hundreds of other protesters from different parts of the city.
“It was really empowering just to see how many people came together from different walks of life to support the cause,” he said.
College sophomore Araba Ankuma also participated in the Nov. 25 march. “I was in awe of the unity and cohesiveness within Philadelphia. It was not just Penn students, and it was not just black people who were protesting,” Ankuma said. “People of all colors, all ages, all genders marched, and as we marched, more and more people joined us.”
Over the holiday break, Finlay continued his protest by boycotting Black Friday, as part of a national movement started by Columbia University and Barnard College students. Over 271,000 people were invited to boycott Black Friday on Facebook and over 28,000 people said they would participate.
“People have asked me, ‘Why would you boycott private companies when it’s the police that are involved?’” Finlay said. “My response to them is that I feel like it’s one system that has been designed to, whether intentionally or unintentionally, oppress others. It’s all interconnected.”
While protests earlier in the week with hundreds, even thousands, of people in the city simmered down because of the holiday, they are likely to pick back up this week.
Kassandra Britt, a College sophomore who was part of the Nov. 25 march, said that though she did not participate in protests over Thanksgiving break, she will join tomorrow’s walkout organized by Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation.
Ankuma will also participate in the walkout tomorrow. “It’s important to participate even if only a little bit, to keep the movement going so this is not just something that blows over with time. We have to show that we won’t be appeased,” she said.
The walkout will begin at 1 p.m. from DuBois College House.Comments powered by Disqus
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