Hundreds of University students, faculty and staff members, as well as students from other universities gathered in the Winter Garden at the Ross School of Business for a silent vigil for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two men who recently lost their lives in police-related violence. The event was organized by students in the Black Business Student Association to show solidarity for victims of racialized violence.
Business graduate student Kareem Edwards, BBSA president, said the event was intended to raise awareness about police brutality and racial profiling and how it affects people across the country.
“The purpose of the event was really just to have a moment to honor those lost lives of citizens across America due to police brutality,” he said. “People realize it’s not a Black issue; it’s an American issue that we all need to help and support in some capacity. Whether it’s small as a like on a picture or working with local authorities (on) policy, you all have a part.”
Edwards added that he was pleased with the turnout, noting the attendance showed the importance of the conversation on college campuses.
Business graduate student Lonzyo Holcomb, who also attended the vigil, said it surpassed his expectations and he was grateful for the community’s support.
“I think this is an important issue and to see so many people standing behind us,” he said. “I think it sends a very strong message about what’s important here at Michigan at large, and why we’re leaders and best.”
Holcomb agreed that while there has been focus on race in the coverage of these incidents, violence is a broader issue.
“These type of issues affect everyone.”
With regards to police brutality and the disconnect between community and police force he said that rebuilding trust will take commitment and time.
“I think we can do a better job of building those relationships and that’s what we hope to come out of this event,” he said.
BBSA hopes to host an event in January with the University and Ann Arbor Police Department to start dialogue about how go about improving the present situation.