Articles, Clemson, Interview, video

“I Can’t Breathe”- Clemson Student Organizes Die-In

Around 4:45 pm on December 4th, it started to rain in Clemson, South Carolina.

No one really expected rain, so there were few umbrellas as people gathered in front of Tillman Hall. The crowd grew despite the weather. Students, faculty, and staff- all gathered together for the die-in, a protest to let students voice their thoughts on the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Mike Brown. Wallace Mack, a Clemson student, organized the protest.

Around 5:10, Mack gathered the crowd. Mack gave a short explanation of how the protest would go- he specified the peaceful nature of the protest, and how he considered it a historical event for Clemson University. After taking questions, the crowd began to shuffle toward Bowman field, some sharing umbrellas.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 9.17.36 PMAs the crowd marched onto Bowman Field, a long line of people appeared on the horizon- the attendees of another event. CLEMSONLiVE was attempting to break a world record by having the longest chain of high-fives ever. The world record was not broken. Mack mentioned that the die-in protestors should not disturb them.

As the group converged on Bowman field, people began to link hands, while others lay down on the ground. After speeches by Mack and student Anna Patrice Warren, the group was silent. At one point, Mack began to lead the crowd in a chant: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe”. The last words of Eric Garner.

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After marching back to Tillman Hall, people were given an opportunity to stand on a ledge and speak. Wallace Mack delivered his address to the crowd:

“To the allies who are here to support us today: I love you. Because sometimes, when we try to talk to the rest of the world, our voices aren’t important enough. To my brothers that are in the audience today, we never tell each other this: but I love you too, man! Because we’re in this together. And to my sisters- to black women. As a black man speaking on behalf of all black men: I love you. Because when things happen to us- when ish gets real? You always come to our defense.”

Another student advised everyone to turn to their left and right, and meet someone new. He said, “Let them know how you feel, see how they feel- that’s the healing process.”

A.D. Carson also read one of his poems.

Close to the end of the night, a speaker asked that all ideas and solutions be tweeted with the hashtag #ClemsonSolutions.

 

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