Black Lives Matter

Event organizer Susan Prill holds a sign to Arts Fest patrons saying "#EndWhiteSilence."
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

At Penn State’s Allen Street gates, about a dozen demonstrators held signs directed to the crowds taking in Arts Fest events. The signs had phrases like “White Silence = Violence” and “Black lives matter to me.”

Susan Prill organized the event. She and all the other demonstrators were white. She said, We’re not here to disrupt, we’re just here to get some more eyes on the message and try to get white people to continue the conversation.”

Ronald Sullivan addresses the class as Professor Paul Taylor looks on.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Eight months ago in Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. Since then, the nation has been rocked by protests and debate. In response, the African American Studies department at Penn State University Park is offering a class to help students analyze what happened in Ferguson.

Protestors at the Allen Street Gates in State College, Pa.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

On a chilly Saturday afternoon in State College, among busy downtown traffic, Salvation Army bell-ringers and even a wedding photo shoot, a group of about twenty people solemnly stood at the gates of Allen Street.  

The group gathered for a protest in the wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths. This was the latest of several rallies in State College, some in support of law enforcement but most, like Saturday’s, to protest police brutality and institutionalized racism.