“How many of us have to die before you listen?” said junior Maurice Grier after the sixth student fell.
Simpson organized the sit-out protest of the national anthem at this weekend’s football game against Pittsburgh, and Grier co-organized the lunchtime protest.
“So you feel the need to kill us,” Grier said as the eighth protester laid down.
Sophomore Dominque Brodie, another co-organizer of the Wednesday protest and former Daily Tar Heel columnist, said the protest was a product of students coming together.
“We just wanted to keep the momentum going because a lot of times with movements like this, a lot of people tend to lose passion and forget about it so we wanted to make sure we had ongoing action,” Brodie said.
Grier said he hoped the protest would make people understand that this issue is important for the whole UNC community.
“It’s important for everyone to be able to listen to each other and be able to talk to someone regardless if they have different ideas than you or they might have a different background or different belief system,” he said.
Sophomore Gabby Johnson said she went to the protest Wednesday to be more involved in the state of affairs in the U.S.
“I’m usually not the type of person to make a stand, to really voice my opinions out in public, but I feel like it’s time,” Johnson said.
“Especially with the climate in the U.S. now, it’s really time for people to make a stand, to get that courage and become uncomfortable, as new and as foreign as it might be.”
Johnson said the importance of this demonstration was to make people see that the issue of police brutality is not made up — injustices exist in the country.
“To me, being out here was really important because I felt like this was my very first time actually coming out and making a stand and using my voice in a way that I should have been using it a long time ago,” she said.
She said the protest was strictly anti-police brutality — not anti-police.
“We’re not racist against white people or anything like that. I know that’s a popular misconception about the Black Lives Matter movement and any movement against police brutality in general but that’s really not it,” she said.
“All we’re trying to do is have equality and justice for everyone regardless of where they come from.”
In this dialogue, Grier said people can’t let the way they are raised — whether it is white people being raised to be racist or black people being raised to avoid white people — decide how they interact with others.
“That’s not productive. That won’t solve anything long-term,” he said. “We can yell and we can scream but until people actually want to understand people and actually want to desire that, nothing’s going to change. But I think it will. I think there’s promise for that and that’s what’s behind this.”