In response to a series of incidents where “White Lives Matter” was painted on the front campus rock this past week, one student has organized two protests to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Around 14 students congregated from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the rock at East Main Street on Friday and Saturday afternoon. Bearing signs that read “Use your privilege to listen to the oppressed,” “Honk if you agree Black Lives Matter” and “Not today Karen,” protesters received positive affirmations from passing cars with honks and clenched fists out car windows.

Protesters

Protesters congregate by the front campus rock on East Main Street to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Junior communications major Alexis Wilson said she organized the protests on Sept. 4 and 5 through a social media flyer and said she wanted to continue her protest efforts after participating in protests at her hometown in Albany, New York. 

Wilson said she was angered and saddened by the “White Lives Matter” words inscribed on the rock, and said those messages are “not in tune with Kent State’s character.” She said she supports the university’s aims to address racism on campus with an anti-racism task force, which was announced in early June during a town hall. 

Freshman political science major Sarah Mowder participated in the protests Friday and said she wanted to advocate for civil rights, as the Black Lives Matter movement should not be a political issue. She said the best way to learn about the movement is to educate yourself by visiting the movement’s website online.

“The most patriotic thing you can do is see a fault in your country, and try to fix it,” Mowder said. 

The protests took place after a recent Undergraduate State Government (USG) meeting that addressed the rock incident, and involved speakers such as President Todd Diacon. 

Troy Pierson is a reporter. Contact him at rpierso4@kent.edu.

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