Delaware State students march to Legislative Mall with a message

 

 

DOVER — Solidarity described the scene as several dozen Delaware State University students gathered on Legislative Mall Friday morning to support Baltimore protesters and to raise awareness of police and community relations throughout the United States.The peaceful protest was one of many happening nationwide over the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, who suffered spinal injuries while in Baltimore police custody following his arrest on April 12.

“This is bigger than Baltimore,” said Kenon Mitchell, one of the organizers of the protest.
“We’re doing this for everyone. “It’s empowering.”

Delaware State University students, front from left, Lonjae Williams of Chester, Pa.; Johnese Monford of Middletown, and Lauren Wright of Richmond, Va., were among many of their peers standing on Legislative Mall with their fists in the air during a protest march and rally Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Delaware State University students, front from left, Lonjae Williams of Chester, Pa.; Johnese Monford of Middletown, and Lauren Wright of Richmond, Va., were among many of their peers standing on Legislative Mall with their fists in the air during a protest march and rally Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

The students wore all black, carried various signs with the words Black Lives Matter and had chants of all sorts, which included James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” as they walked from DSU to Legislative Mall.

“We wanted to raise awareness of what’s going on in Baltimore because some people just don’t know,” Mr. Mitchell said.

“Even though it’s all over the news some people are just unaware. We wanted to come show that we’re aware of what’s going on and we care what’s going on to the point that we’re willing to be active about the situation.”

When the students reached Legislative Mall is when they heard five of six police officers charged in the arrest of Mr. Gray were in custody, which was announced by Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The students reacted positively to the news.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby declared that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide, his arrest was illegal and his treatment in custody amounted to murder and manslaughter.

Ms. Mosby said even though Mr. Gray requested medical help several times, officers repeatedly missed opportunities to get it for him.

Delaware State University students walked from the campus to Legislative Mall Friday, with raised fists, carrying signs and chanting. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Delaware State University students walked from the campus to Legislative Mall Friday, with raised fists, carrying signs and chanting. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Mr. Mitchell said they received a lot of support from onlookers as they marched throughout the city.

“A lot of cars beeped their horns,” Mr. Mitchell said. “A lot of different races supported the cause.”

“It showed that everyone understands what we’re going through. We haven’t been treated as such, but at the end of the day it’s all one world and for people to show that they care is great because it shows that we can all be unified together.”

Akilah Mccrorey, who is originally from Baltimore, also was one of the organizers of the protest.

“It started with me going to one of the dining halls and saying the police broke his neck during a chant,” Ms. Mccrorey said. “Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. No one really understood me at first, but then a lot of people understood my passion and we came together and decided to spread the word.

“I was there at the protest,” Ms. Mccrorey added, referring to a Baltimore protest. “Before they started doing the curfews I was part of the protest and it started off peaceful and that’s what really hurt me watching different media outlets making it seem like everyone from Baltimore were animals, but we’re just upset of what happened.”

The students then organized the walk by writing a proposal to the police and different administrators in the school.

“Everyone was very supportive,” Ms. Mccrorey said.

DSU alumnus Bernard Carr said he was proud of the students organizing the protest.

“It woke the community up a little bit and I’m glad they’re able to voice their opinion in a positive way,” Mr. Carr said.

“I was at a scholarship fundraiser, heard they were marching and I told myself that I wanted to come out and support them.”

“I had no idea what to expect,” he said. “I’m proud of them because they thought about this and then they acted. They didn’t act and then think.”

DSU alumnus Bernard W. Carr (class of 1977) leads the group of nearly 50 students in a final prayer on Legislative Mall after the protest march Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DSU alumnus Bernard W. Carr (class of 1977) leads the group of nearly 50 students in a final prayer on Legislative Mall after the protest march Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

 

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