BY: LAUREN LUMPKIN
Students from American University's Black Student Alliance, AU's chapter of NAACP and other campus groups gathered last night at the school's women's volleyball game to silently protest the national anthem. Inspired by protests led by Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes, more than 30 black students and allies raised fists into the air during the song. AU mascot Clawed Z. Eagle also expressed solidarity and participated in the protest.
"It is important to remember the hardships that black bodies have gone through and will continue to go through in the days ahead," said Joshua Kerobo, sophomore and president of AU's chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. "This [act] was in direct protest against all acts of violence, hate and discrimination."
Many students stayed for the entire game, cheering the Eagles to a 3-1 victory over Navy. The majority of the game's fans were student protesters.
"[The protest] was a great step to showing how students at AU can demonstrate and protest for the rights and treatment they deserve, but still be supportive and engaged with their AU community," said Sydney Young, secretary of AU's NAACP.
The choice to protest at a game against Navy was intentional, said BSA Public Relations Chair Isaiah Young, who helped to organize the demonstration. The protest was well received by AU students and coaches. However, Navy volleyball players "gave us dirty looks and were making comments the entire game," according to Young.
This demonstration is just one of many acts of civil disobedience that have already occurred this semester on campus following several race-related incidents in residence halls last month.
"[Student protesters] truly set an outstanding example," said Sydney Young. "I hope to see the message grow and the movement continue."
Photo by Taryn Daniels.