Southern Connecticut State University students gathered on campus Wednesday night to speak out against racial injustice.
Over a hundred students attended, marching from the Buley Library to the center of campus.
“It just brings awareness,” said SCSU graduate student Yarelis Canales. “I think that’s the most important and with awareness comes action.”
Galvanized by recent events, including last week’s decision by a Kentucky grand jury not to charge police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor, these students expressed frustration with today’s racial environment.
“Even though segregation and all that stuff is over, it’s really not because people still have hidden animosity,” said SCSU student Aaron Gray.
Wednesday’s rally is one of many that have been held in Connecticut over the past several months. Some who spoke with NBC Connecticut said they aren’t being heard and will continue speaking out.
“We need to speak up,” said SCSU student Troya Coote. “Even if it’s repetitive it needs to be heard.”
Coote said she has talked with her grandparents about what is transpiring now and says there are direct comparisons to the racism they experienced in the 1960s.
“Nothing has changed. It’s a little more hidden of course but people still feel the way they feel,” added Coote.
On a stage, surrounded by pictures, commemorating Black lives lost due to police brutality and racial injustice, organizers encouraged students to speak out.
“(Students) have the power to invoke change,” said organizer & SCSU student Cameryn Arpino-Brown.
Arpino-Brown said she initiated Wednesday’s event as a way of helping students find a voice. It’s her goal to create and environment at SCSU where students can speak up about racial issues without having to do it anonymously.
“I want them to feel like they can reach out to administrators,” she said. “They can reach out to student leaders like myself where they feel like this is a safe place for them to speak.”
The event, which started at 5 p.m., lasted three hours. It included speakers and entertainers before culminating with a vigil. Students say they are rallying not only for themselves but for future generations.
“It’s really sad,” said Coote. “I don’t know when it’s ever going to stop but with me still being here and alive, I’m going to make sure my voice is heard.”