Scores of biomedical students, researchers, faculty and staff staged a "die-in" yesterday to protest excessive police violence against people of color.
Clad in black "BlackLivesMatter" t-shirts, demonstrators lay down on the medical school's Discovery Walk while listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. The demonstration was organized by the Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS.)
The demonstration also featured two large posters that prompted viewers to complete the statement "I am privileged because..." or "I have a dream..."
Organizers said they were motivated to stage the demonstration because they felt there wasn't enough conversation about the issue on the Stanford campus.
The Stanford community is comprised of people with a variety of backgrounds, who come from all sorts of communities, organizer and graduate student Jesus Madrid said. "Do we want to forget what it's like outside?"
The demonstrators pointed out that violence against minorities is very relevant to biomedical researchers and doctors. "People getting killed is absolutely medically relevant," said graduate student and organizer Tawaun Lucas.
In addition, it takes widespread societal awareness that extends beyond racial groups to promote change, the organizers said.
BioAIMS president Julie Huang said the group was pleased with the turnout, which topped 150 people.
A few voices from the demonstration:
"On a campus like this, we do need to focus on issues that are globally important."
—Sheri Krams, PhD, associate professor of surgery
"I'm new here, and I wanted to inform myself. In Austria, we absolutely have police violence against minorities."
—Alex Woglar, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in developmental biology
"It could have been any of us."
—Tawaun Lucas, graduate student and member of BioAIMS
BioAIMS intends to keep the dialogue ongoing by hosting a series of upcoming events, including "Transitions into Privilege," a forum scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22 from 12-1 PM in the fourth floor reading room at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.
Previously: Community violence can increase risk of heart disease, What happens when people witness violence and death? and Gun safety addressed by editorials in three JAMA journals
Photo by David Purger