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Members of the LSU community rallied together Wednesday evening for a demonstration of solidarity for the black community in the Quad.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff stood united, many dressed head-to-toe in black, as they listened to the goals and personal experiences of members of the black community on campus.
Black Out LSU hosted the peaceful protest in response to the recent U.S. police killings of black people including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
The campaign was created in 2015 in an effort to speak out against racial injustices in the country. Participants dressed in black every Wednesday to raise awareness.
Instagram posts from @BlackOutLSU encouraged all attendees to wear face masks and practice social distancing while in attendance to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
The event’s lead organizer and president of the LSU chapter of the NAACP Cambryn Crier said the two main goals of the protest were for their voices to be heard and their demands to be met.
“We just want justice, we want equality and we want our lives to matter,” Crier said.
Organizers thanked protesters for coming out and urged them to take more action. The leaders shared a list of several initiatives for students to take part in and promised to ensure these changes are made.
The initiatives ranged from petitioning to increase the ratio of minority professionals in every academic area, to lobbying for more funding for minority programs and departments.
LSU Interim President Tom Galligan addressed the crowd using a megaphone. Tired of the lack of progress, he said, he made a pledge to take action for as long as he holds his position as interim president.
“I’m 64,” Galligan said. “This has been happening my entire life. And every time I think it gets better, it happens again. We’re here because it’s got to stop. We’ve got to do something about it,”
The place to start is on campus, Galligan said. He encouraged students to communicate their frustrations and communicate with others.
“Black lives matter. That’s a true statement. It’s a humanitarian statement.” Galligan said.
Student Kalvin Morris told the crowd he is grateful for the support shown but tired of the lack of true action. He asked his classmates for their support outside of the rallies.
LSU faculty service member Mona Mahgoub said she was slightly nervous about the protest on campus due to the looting of stores and businesses she’s heard about in other cities following protests.
“I don’t want it to happen here,” Mahgoub said. “I am in fear to go out.”
Two LSUPD officers stood toward the entrance of Middleton Library but remained largely out of sight.
History sophomore Chandler Clegg showed his support by wearing all black and holding a sign which read “white supremacy is the virus.” He said he will continue to peacefully protest until his goal of equality is reached.
This time, he says, he thinks it will be different.
“You usually don't see protests this wide scale, everywhere,” Clegg said. “Everyone is angry. I don’t think it's just gonna die down. We can't just go back to normal after this.”