Students unify with protest


Demonstrators made up of Black Student Union members and students lay across a bridge to honor the Black Lives Matter movement outside Cole Hall around noon Tuesday. Some students wore garbage bags to represent those who died and others held signs with information about individuals who died at the hands of police. About 200 students stopped to watch the demonstration.

By Nancy Galan

#ProjectOutline grows on campus

Correction: Sophomore journalism major Cherelle Freeman said “Black lives do matter, and when we say that, people take it the wrong way.” The Northern Star mistakenly reported Sabrina Baskerville, senior media communications major, said this.

Baskerville said “…We’re just pro-black.” The Northern Star mistakenly reported Baskerville said “…We’re just pro-life.”

Traci Jennings, Black Student Union president, said the demonstration was intended to create a more unified campus. The Northern Star mistakenly reported Jennings said the demonstration was intended to create a more diverse campus.

DeKALB | In an effort to protest police violence and the unnecessary killing of unarmed black individuals throughout the United States, students of the Black Student Union held a peaceful protest Tuesday outside Cole Hall.

The union has engaged about 40 members in #ProjectOutline, an initiative the union started that’s connected to the Black Lives Matter Movement, said Traci Jennings, president of the Black Student Union.

The initiative involves drawing body outlines in chalk to represent black individuals who have died as a result of police violence, and the first demonstration was Sept. 22.

Students wore signs during the demonstration describing individuals who died at the hands of police, was aimed to bring the black community together and create a more unified campus, Jennings said.

Other demonstrators laid among chalk outlines of these individuals while wearing garbage bags to represent body bags and chanting about the value of black lives. About 200 students watched the demonstration which occurred around noon.

Sabrina Baskerville, senior media communications major, said she participated in Tuesday’s demonstration because it’s important to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. She attended to support the movement and believes a peaceful protest is the best way to raise awareness.

“They think we are anti-white, and we’re not,” Baskerville said. “We’re just pro-black; our lives matter too. They don’t care, but we are just trying to bring awareness.”

Baskerville said it’s vital people understand that black students can raise awareness for Black Lives Matter in a non-violent way. She believes racism is still present every day even though some people believe it no longer exists.

Sophomore journalism major Cherelle Freeman attended the demonstration and thinks people sometimes misinterpret the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“Black lives do matter, and when we say that, people take it the wrong way,” Freeman said.

Tribuana Jones, vice president of Black Student Union, said events like these are meant to unite students not provoke them but acknowledges some feel discomfort towards the demonstration of Black Lives Matter, which is OK because it shows there is a problem.

Jones said anyone with questions about the movement or about symbols like the chalk drawings or students wearing signs can talk her or other members of the union.

After the demonstration of freedom of speech, NIU sent a memorandum Wednesday to administration and faculty informing them students might wear slogan T-shirts, signs or other forms of expression throughout the week.

The administration reminded employees this is permissible, but it is important to remember that classrooms serve the purpose of instruction and discussion of class-related material.