The state of emergency may be lifted for Baltimore after unrest exploded last month following the police custody death of Freddie Gray, but solidarity actions continue. About 100 people staged a "die-in" on Wednesday in front of the humanities building at Cal State Fullerton. Faculty sounded the noontime call to action.
Professors responded with staff, students and community members joining in the latest OC #BlackLivesMatter protest.
Chicana/o Studies Chair Alexandro J. Gradilla organized the effort after checking out a student-led discussion last week on unrest in Baltimore at the African-American Resource Center. "I started to get the sense these students were feeling unnecessarily alone in this," Professor Gradilla says. "I know faculty cares but the students had to see us do something."
Between 20 to 30 of his fellow faculty showed up in support. Protesters held signs reading "Black Lives Matter," and "End Police Brutality." Another chalked the name "Monique Deckard," a black woman killed earlier this year by Anaheim police, in remembrance.
Some mingling students awaiting their next class curiously looked on at the fifteen-minute long die-in, while others joined in! Neither the news of six officers arrested in Gray's death or nearing final exams on campus deterred the spirited turnout.
"Our big end goal was to get everybody's contact info down so that we can start organizing and collaborating as a community of faculty, students and scholars," Gradilla says.
With that goal in mind, protesters read a list of six demands directed at Cal State Fullerton including issuing a survey for students of color, boosting enrollment of black students up from the 770 currently attending and the development of a system-wide 'BlackLivesMatter' course.
The Weekly thought about asking CSUF media relations for comment, but our story had to run sometime this century!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2