The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, at Ohio University gathered Friday at the Athens County Courthouse for a silent protest in remembrance of Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant.
NAACP at OU members and others met outside of the courthouse at 8 p.m. Betty Miller, a senior studying political science pre-law and the co-president of the NAACP at OU, helped organize the event after being approached by a fellow OU student.
“A Black student reached out to me, and they told me that they wanted to have a protest about the recent killing of Ma’Khia Bryant,” Miller said. “So, I thought that today would be a great opportunity to come out and remember the lives of the Black and Brown people that we have lost to systemic racism.”
The event consisted of multiple speakers, including KeShawn Mellon, a senior studying acting, and Chelsea Tano, a freshman studying psychology.
“On top of us being college students, we're also Black college students,” Tano said. “So, on top of everyday issues that a college student would have to face, we have to deal with racial issues on top of them. Look at how there are people able to walk to bars and get the stress off of their weekend while we fight for our lives. If you don't see the issues, then you're the problem. We all want to relax and enjoy our evening, but we're fighting for our lives because we’re in danger.”
Following the speakers’ remarks at the Athens County Courthouse, Miller led a silent march to the historical marker in honor of lynching victim Christopher Davis, which is near Baker University Center.
Miller said she wanted those involved to reflect while they marched.
“While we are marching, I just want you all to think of what can you do to keep the fight going because this is an ongoing fight,” Miller said. “As long as systemic racism exists, the fight for equity will always exist.”
Once the march reached the marker, Miller and Mellon spoke to conclude the event.
“This is my last day of classes,” Mellon said. “Today, I was supposed to celebrate but, today, on my mind is the fact that we keep losing people for nothing.”
Mellon said attending protests is not enough to actively fight for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“You have to actively, actively, actively fight every godd--- day because you know what? Black people have to,” Mellon said. “And it's clear we can't do this alone. If we could, we won't be here — trust me. So, please, this is more of a plea than a demand at this point: don't stop here. This isn't a gold star. This is the minimum — bare minimum — on everybody's part, including mine.”
Miller said she wants people to know her desire for the police system to be dismantled and restructured.
“The way (the police system) has been structured is to police the Black body,” Miller said. “The ... creation of the police started with the slave patrol. So, it has always been around policing the Black body. So, I find it hard to believe that we can reform a system that has been built on policing the Black body.”