Students continue Ferguson activism with ‘dead-in’
Students garbed in black fell to the floor in Tisch Commons, simulating dead bodies and calling attention to the deaths of people of color as tour groups and students eating lunch looked on.
The demonstration, or “dead-in,” lasted about five minutes and took place just after noon on Monday. The collapse of students to the floor was accompanied by a reading of names of people of color killed by police. The initial names on the list included Mike Brown and Vonderrit Myers, both black teenagers recently shot by police officers in the St. Louis area.
The dead-in, planned to take place at several universities throughout St. Louis, was part of “Moral Monday”—a day of activism relating to Brown’s death and issues of racial profiling and police brutality. Participating Washington University students said that they hoped to remind their peers of Brown’s death, which happened over two months ago, and spark conversation among students about the surrounding issues.
“Time after time we’ve heard from all the organizers on the ground and everybody that the most important work for us to do is in our communities,” senior Jonathan Karp, one of the demonstrators, said. “Obviously there’s a lot of work to do here at Wash. U.”
Response to the demonstration was mixed, with some students continuing to talk amongst themselves or stepping over the demonstrators blocking walkways while others listened to the list of names being read.
Some students supported the motivations of the demonstrators but felt that the effect of the demonstration would quickly wear off.
“I sympathize. I agree with their message, but I’m pessimistic about their chances of having a real effect,” junior Max Lyons said.
Others felt that the demonstration might have a more lasting impact.
“It was a powerful image,” sophomore Samantha Pitz said. “I noticed that there were multiple tours going on so I think it shows that the Wash. U. community is very active, and [the demonstration] will show prospective students that we are involved in the community and there isn’t necessarily a Wash. U. bubble.”
Check Thursday’s issue of Student Life for a more extensive look at the dead-in.