An original report by Shenika McDonald On Saturday, December 6, approximately 250 Andrews University students, faculty, staff, and Berrien Springs community members participated in a justice march to the Berrien Springs Police Department. It was the first public protest in the school’s history. For many students this was a chance to lend their voice to a worthy cause. The march was held in memory of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Jr. – two Black, unarmed men killed by the police. Shastri Lloyd, a senior theology major and coordinator of the posters used in the event, said that “the march helped to engage Oronoko County Police in real conversation about them being proactive about race issues, and how they affect their approach to law enforcement.”
Aside from starting a conversation, the protesters chanted several phrases such as “black lives matters,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” “I can’t breathe,” and “no justice, no peace.” Once at the police department the protesters walked around the building following the model of Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho. They prayed for both the protection of officers who put their lives on the line for the safety of Oronok County, and for individuals in the future to never feel oppressed by the officers’ power. There was a moment of silence that lasted 4.5 minutes to represent the 4.5 hours Michael Brown Jr.’s dead body was left in the street before he was finally attended to.
The protest was led by Andrews students, including, Tanya Loveday, Ndubuisi Nwade, Jameel Daniels, Karyle Barnes, Dwayne Wescom, Nephtali Eugene, Shastri Lloyd, and Persephanie Chiddick, as well as Chaplain Michael Polite. The event was covered by South Bend news station WSBT22 and made their website’s top news for the day. (WSBT’s coverage can be found at: http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/hundreds-rally-for-justice-inberrien-springs/30100712)
The movement does not end here. Students have many plans for the future, including projects in Benton Harbor and boycotts. This peaceful protest in the small town of Berrien Springs is part of a massive national movement, and the students of Andrews University are doing their part help the oppressed and share justice as is commanded by God. More information, photos, and videos of the march can be found on Facebook using the hashtag: #breakthewalls