Smile Politely

Centennial students stage “die-in” in protest of events in Ferguson and NYC: UPDATED

Our editors got inside Centennial High School and spoke with some of the teachers and students organizing the “die-in” protest. Here is what they had to say. 

Lindsey Aikman teaches English and A.V.I.D. which stands for advancement via individual determination. She helped organize the protest because of recent events in Ferguson and New York City (NYC). She and the students planned a “die-in” in the hallway during a passing period. The idea comes from the peaceful protests of stopping traffic in NYC. “Our protest is peaceful and it’s meant to make students and faculty slow down and think about what is going on in our country” Akiman said. Students planned to hold signs and lay on the hallway floor during passing period. 

Lindsey pictured below preparing the students for protest

Sonie is a senior at Centennial and the group leader of this protest. She and Aikman planned the event together. She says the reason she decided to plan the protest was because when she heard about what was going on in Ferguson and NYC she was shocked and had to ask herself “was this really happening?” She decided to take action because what is happening in our country is “personal and affects my community.” She said that “it doesn’t just affect black people. Everyone should care about this, no matter what affiliation they have with the victims.” She went on to say that “this feels like a civil rights movement of my era.” 

Sonie pictured below rallying her fellow classmates


One of Sonie’s classmates holds up a home-made sign

When asked how she was able to rally her fellow students, she said “I just spoke what was on my mind and said ‘if we just let this go, it will send the message that we are ok with what happened, and we’re not.'”

A protest sign made by students

Aikman went on to say that for a lot of these kids these incidences in Ferguson and NYC hit home. She said that last year one of their friends was shot and killed while trying to get into his own home. “It happens right here in Champaign. And these kids remember” Aikman says. 

Pictured below, students protesting in school hallway during passing period

UPDATE: 8:42 p.m.

Per WILL — video footage has been captured that shows a car driving through the group of protesting students today. Check it out below, as well as the description from the YouTube page.

Authorities are investigating an incident at Centennial High School in Champaign. Greg Johnson, Centennial principal, says a motorist drove into a crowd of students who were holding a rally outside the high school to protest the grand jury decisions in the police shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
UPDATE: December 9th, 2:30 p.m.
Some new footage has been released of the car driving through the group of students during the protest. Check it out via The News-Gazette.

Related Articles