A die-in happened on the University of Michigan Diag this week to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to protest the lack of action in the multiple police killings of unarmed black folks, including Aura Rosser of Ann Arbor. The die-in was one of many protest events happening around campus and was led by the University of Michigan branch of the NAACP and the Black Student Union. I joined my friend and colleague, Matt Mancour, to participate in the die-in – as it was open to all people – and to try and capture the message of the event. I took photographs and assisted Matt with video interviews of some of the participants.
The die-in lasted an hour and throughout that hour there were constantly people joining in or rising from the massive pile of bodies. I took a quick break from photographing to be a participant myself. I only lasted about ten minutes before the cold overtook me, but was a strangely calming and reflective moment. Never had I laid in one of the most busy spots on campus, nor had I done it with so many others in complete silence. The cold quickly swept through my body as I lied on the wintery bricks, and I spent my short time on the ground thinking about race, violence, police brutality, the families of those who were killed. I realized that I had thought of all of these things many times before, but not in such a way where that was the only thing I was thinking of. Realization of this privilege was a major takeaway for me.
Another takeaway was the incredible voices that were heard that day. Following the die-in were speeches by several students and organizations. Additionally, we captured many incredible responses from those who were willing to do brief video interviews. These folks had such powerful things to say that I admit having difficulty editing it into a quick, shareable video. I strongly encourage you to watch and listen to the folks who were willing to express their thoughts and opinions on current events and racism in our country. Their words stuck with me and I hope they do to you, too.
More information about this die-in can be found in these local new reports:
MLive – Die-In at the Diag
Michigan Daily – More than 200 students lie on the Diag to protest police brutality