Poster created by Jaeda Sasse
As part of nationwide protests in response to the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Slippery Rock students and community members will peacefully protest on Monday evening.
Protestors will meet at SRU’s soccer practice fields at 5:15 p.m. before walking toward the university police station. At the police station, there will be time for prayer, speeches and moments of silence in remembrance of lives lost to police brutality.
Frantzi Exantus, a senior early childhood education major and one of the SRU students who organized the protest, said that some of the reasons behind Slippery Rock’s protest are to bring awareness to the issue of racism in the country, to support bigger cities where protests have taken place and to address past problems with racism at SRU. Exantus said he experienced racist encounters at the bar and while working, another one of his reasons for protesting.
“The reason I want to protest in the Slippery Rock area is not to make the cops [in] this area look bad,” Exantus said. “It’s simply to bring awareness to a problem that we have nationwide and that problem is the racial division of this country. The fact that African Americans are not treated equally in this country, the fact that we are judged simply based on the color of our skin. I want to have a protest here to raise awareness of the racism in this country and to show that there are just so many people all over the world that are tired of it.”
While Exantus said he never has a problem with the police in the Slippery Rock area, he hopes that the protests show support for nationwide change.
“I have never had a problem with the police here or felt that I was treated differently because of the color of my skin if I got pulled over because these officers are trained correctly,” Exantus said. “That did not stop me from feeling afraid for my life anytime I got pulled over in this area, that’s simply the feeling I get now if I get pulled over. . . We want those cops to know that we won’t stand for that here, we want the victims to know that we hear them and we won’t stand aside as innocent lives are taken away.”
Exantus also explained that he hopes for a peaceful event and for a good turnout on Monday.
“I’d like people to know that we want this to be peaceful,” Exantus said. “We want to make a difference and we don’t want to just talk about change anymore, we want to make a change.”
Prior to Monday’s protest, Donovan Ford, president of Black Action Society and a senior marketing major, released the following statement:
“The Black Action Society is outraged by the recent senseless murders and racially charged attacks against our people across the country. Police brutality and systemic racism are unacceptable, and we must continue to fight for justice and systemic changes in our society. We are currently discussing our next steps as an organization to address the issues that African American students face at Slippery Rock University. BAS fully supports all peaceful protests including the one planned in Slippery Rock on Monday. We encourage you to educate yourself and hold everyone accountable for their actions. Our organization will continue [to] educate others on the African American experience at SRU and serve as a support system for African American students.“