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Hundreds of U of M students gather for "die-in" protest

Dec 11, 2014

Students lie down on the Diag for a die-in protest.
Credit Rowan Renstrom-Richards

More than 200 students and faculty gathered on University of Michigan's campus yesterday for a "die-in protest". 

Those participating lay down on the Diag for 45 minutes, in protest of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York. The 45 minutes was symbolic for the four-and-a-half hours that Michael Brown's body remained on the street after his death.

The event was organized by three freshmen at the university, but they handed the reins over to the Black Student Union and the NAACP to run the protest.

 The Facebook event said: 

In the past few days, you have heard about the hashtags #wecantbreathe and #blacklivesmatter on social media protesting the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others. These hashtags are a part of a movement currently spreading throughout the nation. Schools around the country have been participating in silent protests called “die-in protests” where participants simulate being dead, lying silently while covering themselves in banners for short periods of time. 

It is our responsibility as a very well known school of activism to show our support for such an important issue, and our discontent with the systematic targeting of minorities by our police, who are here to SERVE AND PROTECT us."

This was not the first protest on campus in response to the deaths of Brown and Garner – there was a protest hosted by the Black Law Student Association last week, as well as a vigil on Tuesday at the Ross School of Business

More than 1,600 people said they were attending the event on Facebook, but many people stopped by the protest and left. "It doesn't matter if you stay for five minutes or the whole time," the event page said. "Just come. Make your voices be heard." 

– Paige Pfleger, Michigan Radio Newsroom