I participated in the die-In at the School District Building, located at 440 N. Broad street.
This Die-In was different than the last student-organized protest, which happened at several schools on December 4th. This time, Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) organized it so that education could be tied in.
When I arrived, not many people were there, but reporters were around, along with many policemen on foot, s three police cars on the street and about 30 police officers on bikes. Students were holding up signs that read “Black lives Matter” and “It’s our duty to fight for freedom.” The head coordinators handedout slips of paper that had the main chants on the front and a song that would later be sung on the back.
As the chants began, more students joined the protest. A huge group of people walked to the 440 building together holding signs written on cardboard. There was one sign that stuck out to me. It said “No Justice, No Peace,” and underneath it had this written in Chinese. I appreciated that the sign showed how many ethnicities this problem affects.
At around 4:50, Senior Ruby Anderson began the die-in by instructing people of color to lie down and others to sit in support. Once she has “died,” everyone followed.
We sat in silence for six minutes in honor of the 6th grader, Laporshia Massey, who died last year of an asthma attack, when there was no nurse at her school that day. . Budget cuts have affected the School District of Philadelphia in a negative way, and everyday school and families have to face the consequences. We students struggle as we watch children who have their whole lives in front of them get cheated on their education. All of this is the courtesy of the School Reform Commission.
I thought that connecting police brutality and school funding was a good representation of the things that need to be fixed. The fact that so many children have died at the hands of policemen is something that must be fixed. No matter what their race is, this type of violence should not be occurring. It is a terrible thing that these mothers had to lose their sons in such a manner. Part of the reason why I went to the die-in was to show my support to those mothers.
I also wanted the School District to understand that they also play a role in this violence. It may present itself in different forms, but the violence is all the same. Education is our key into the world, our way to prosper and if that is taken away from us, then each student in the School District of Philadelphia is being held back from being someone we are fully capable of being.
After the die-in was over, many people spoke and told their views and protested about the state violence that many places in this country are experiencing. It felt meaningful that students from so many schools came out to show their support I am glad to know that so many people want their voice to be heard. I cannot wait to see what student actions will come next.