Say Their Names

SLU Students march through campus demanding justice.

The phrase “Say Their Names” has become a national talking point since the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, as the violence and police brutality towards African Americans has escalated. On campus, there have been public displays of support through posters, speakers and chalk messages around the clock tower. On Thursday evening, Sept. 24, a group of students placed Post-It Notes, tape and Sharpies around the clock tower, encouraging students and staff to participate in writing the names of the victims and adding them to a growing trail around the rim. 

However, students awoke Friday morning to find that a group of students had taken the sharpies and vandalized the tower with messages like “Trump 2020,” adding several Post-It’s of their own, one of which said, “The court was correct, and Breonna was a criminal.” Outraged, a  number of students gathered with disinfecting wipes and began scrubbing these messages off of the stone. There have also been repeated calls for SLU to take immediate action against the vandals. 

Later on in the afternoon, members of the SLU community gathered together at the tower, and began a march down West Pine, collecting more students as they went. With the ranks rising in number, the group planted themselves in the Grand intersection, blocking traffic from both directions, and chanting demands for justice. Ashlee Lambert, the head speaker of the march, encouraged students to “please use your voice, because your voice is so important.” DPS stood near the scene ensuring that the students would be safe from angry drivers. One man in a pickup truck began easing towards the crowd, shouting offensive slogans, but the group stood firm. After about ten minutes on Grand, the march set their sights on DuBourg Hall, home to SLU’s administrative offices. Entering at the second floor entrance, the protestors walked through all four floors, ensuring that the administration is informed of the unrest and outrage of the student body. Two women created a poster while walking through the halls that said “Breonna Taylor Matters! NO JUSTICE NO PEACE.” 

By the time the students made their way back towards Grand for the second time, some faculty and a Jesuit representative had joined the march. The group sat in the Grand intersection, and every angry honk was met with applause from the crowd. Some drivers were highly supportive of the statement, and the students made the way for public transit buses. 

The Black Student Association and politically active members of the community have made it clear that a stronger stance must be taken by both the administration and the student body. Lambert reflected the emotions of the Black community at SLU, saying, “people are losing their lives and SLU isn’t saying anything!” 

A community discussion at the clock tower is scheduled for 9 p.m., followed by a candlelight vigil for Breonna Taylor at 10:30 p.m.