Dozens of University of Chicago Booth Students, dressed in black, gathered on Sept 23rd to support a cause that is stirring up the nation. Raising many questions about race and equality, the Black Lives Matter movement, founded by activists and sisters Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors, is a call to action and response to the current police brutality and killing of numerous African Americans. In many of these incidents the victims were unarmed and were not committing a crime when they were confronted by the cops. The Black Lives Matter campaign addresses the frustration and grief that many people feel about the violence and systemic racism toward black people.
The Black Lives Matter movement is founded on a number of principals that welcome inclusion and diversity. The movement emphasizes the collective value and restorative justice, which can be seen in the diversity of people who come out to show support for communities and the significance of all lives. The Black Lives Matter movement really started to pick up steam and garner national attention after 18-year old Mike Brown was killed at the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Hundreds of protesters from around the country came to Ferguson to proclaim Black Lives Matter and the world took notice.
The most recent police shootings of 43-year old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte and 40-year old Terence Crutcher in Tulsa has sparked outrage and further highlights the tumultuous relationship between law enforcement and black men. In the Tulsa incident the Police officer Betty Shelby who killed the unarmed Crutcher, will face charges of first-degree manslaughter. The Charlotte Police Department has not yet brought charges on the officer involved in the death of Keith Lamont Scott.
Top business schools across the country including Harvard, Columbia, NYU Stern, and Berkeley Haas are showing their collective support for the Black Lives Movement and mourning the loss of innocent lives by wearing black. Here at Chicago Booth, MBA co-chair, Antoinette King, helped organize dozens of Booth students to wear black and take a photo showing the country we care and want justice and equality for all. In an interview with ChiBus, King pointed out that last year she felt the Booth community was not vocal about the injustices and wanted to raise a dialog about the violence black people were facing across the country. “Last year it was heartbreaking to see how silent my classmates were about the instances of police violence happening all over the country. It was as if no one outside of the Black and Hispanic communities cared,”said King. King, who admits she has always loved Booth and is proud of the community was ecstatic to see the collective support on Friday.
“Seeing classmates and administrators show up and engage on Friday made me realize that this absolutely wasn't true. People do care.” proclaimed King. “They just didn't know how to approach the issue. So on Friday, when so many people pushed past their discomfort and showed support by wearing black it made me love the Booth community even more.”
Organizers of Booth’s Black Lives Matter support initiative hope that Friday’s dressing in black is just the start of a larger conversation about diversity and engagement within the Booth community.