The sight of a body lying on the ground, in any context, is unsettling. From the body of an ebola victim lying forgotten in the street of Sierra Leone, to an elementary school child huddled during crisis training, bodies lying prostrate on the ground bring forth a mix of emotions of fear, perplexity or sadness.
When members of Black United Students showed up in Risman Plaza at noon Wednesday, they gathered and lay down on the ground. They weren’t dying. They weren’t afraid. They simply gathered to peacefully protest by lying down. It was a powerful, symbolic act; one that showed the acceptance of peaceful protest movements on campus, something picket signs and marching has not been able to accomplish as of late. But more than that, it showed that students are informed and aware of situations miles away from campus that still connect every one of us.
Police brutality is unquestionably becoming a topic of discussion and debate in the U.S. Reaction to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has certainly drawn the attention of national media and led to extensive discussions on the role of law enforcement and the militarization of America. Healthcare issues throughout the world, often left unaddressed, are typically worse than the flawed system we have in America.
Like the media attention of ebola victims, complete with photos of disease-ridden people of Liberia, media attention of living bodies of students peacefully protesting should draw the attention of more than just Kent’s main campus. By paying attention to the real issues behind those prostrate bodies – poor healthcare systems throughout the world, gun safety in schools, a loss of innocent lives to police brutality – we students, as members of the American democracy, have the opportunity to constructively discuss more than just the effects of these issues. By raising awareness of these issues, we have the opportunity to discuss the causes and begin work to address the problem.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of The Kent Stater editorial board.