There were chants for justice and peace. Individuals sang lyrics that underscore a harsh reality of inequality and fear, according to some protesters.
“The issue here is because we are black, we are assumed to be doing something menacing, and that’s hardly the case in a lot of the instances that I hear about,” said Julian Barnett, an Ohio Student Association organizer.
Barnett, a recent Ohio State graduate, says he wanted to join this crowd to honor Ty’re King and Henry Green, two young African-Americans killed by Columbus Police.
CPD says Green was armed and fired at undercover police officers when he was shot and killed.
They say King was a suspect in an armed robbery, failed to follow police orders and pointed what was believed to be a gun at police as he fled. That gun was later determined to be a BB gun.
Barnett explains, “A job as a police officer in this state is to protect and serve, and to be a positive authority in the community. Taking the lives of young people, that’s not positive.”
Other students joined the protest once they saw a group gathering on the oval. Arizona Hess was on her way to class, when she stopped to show her support.
“It’s about us joining together to fight something that is a problem right now. Everyone does matter, but black lives are being taken and that is not okay,” she said.
After listing demands for change, chanting and singing, these students got down on one knee in silence for 13 minutes – one for each year Ty’re was alive.
Group leaders say they must remain organized in order to bring about real change.
“It’s an epidemic that we can control now. I feel as though as if we take more approaches like what we are doing, we will be able to do that,” Barnett said.
Another gathering is planned for Friday evening at Franklin Park.