Students and faculty of all walks of life came together in the main campus quad to mourn and remember those whose lives have been lost due to police violence.
Breia Harris, president of Ferris’ NAACP chapter, explained that many students at Ferris don’t seem to know the full story and that the national media left many stories of unjust violence untold.
“It’s important because innocent lives are being taken,” said Harris. “All of us should know and care because it could be any one of us that has their life taken.”
In the wake of the recent riots in Baltimore, the crowd that gathered in front of the quad stage, which included faculty, administrators, and police officers, was respectful and attentive throughout the event. Members of Ferris’ NAACP chapter lit candles and read to a diverse group of students the stories of several people that have lost their lives or been seriously injured by police violence.
NAACP holds the ceremony annually, but the story told about Freddie Gray’s death seemed to weigh particularly heavy on the hearts of the crowd. Several students proceeded to speak their minds about the stories. A moment of silence was held in remembrance of those killed.
“This often gets misconstrued as a race issue when it’s not,” said Corey Watkins, a construction management junior. “It’s an injustice issue.”
Harris went on to explain that the ceremony should not be seen as a protest. The mission, she said, of her NAACP chapter is to bring organizations and students together through the candlelight ceremony and all of their events.
“This is bigger than politics, these are actual people that lost their lives,” said Johnny Haynes, a senior in communications. Haynes explained that observers shouldn’t have felt obligated to agree, either. His peers in NAACP just wanted to share these stories.
“It’s not up to us to tell people how to feel about these situations,” said Haynes. “People can draw their own viewpoints based on the information they hear.”