Columbia High Students Stage ‘Die-In' in Response to Garner Grand Jury Decision

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Die In CHS Protest

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — In the aftermath of the decision by a Staten Island grand jury not to indict a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner and the decision by a St. Louis grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson, MO police officer after the shooting death of Michael Brown, Columbia High School students organized a “die-in” this morning in the entrance hall of the school.

Student organizer Mia Goldstein reported that students “sat in silence for 4.5 minutes, honoring the 4.5 hours Michael Brown lay dead in the street.” Fellow organizer Sofia Petros said that about 100 students participated.

Goldstein wrote in an email that she and Petros read the names of “35 black men who have died at the hands of law enforcement within the past couple of years (most were this year).”

Goldstein and Petros then read the following statement:

“While the CHS community cannot forget the extent to which we exist in a microcosm of both privilege and institutional racism, we must attempt to look beyond that and understand that protest is a disruption of oppression, an affront to hate.It is rooted in empathy, in love, in solidarity. CHS stands for something and that something is the seemingly paradoxical pairing of diversity and unity.”

The protest comes after another demonstration by CHS students held in November to protest the grand jury decision regarding the death of Brown. Student organizers Sophie Charlap and Sofia Petros said that Principal Elizabeth Aaron was very supportive of their peaceful protests (see video below).

Click on any photo to see a slideshow of images from the protest.

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