HBCU Students Demonstrate Against Charlotte Shooting

Sep 22, 2016

NCCU student Ajamu Dillahunt organizes the crowd at a Durham demonstration on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. The group gathered to rally against the recent shooting of a black man in Charlotte.
Credit Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Some 200 North Carolina Central University students stood in the rain Wednesday night to demonstrate against what they call police violence against people of color.

The NCCU campus in Durham was quiet, except for a section called the Greek Bowl.

"I'm a political science major and this is some stuff I look at every day. I want to be in Congress just to change this," Cherokee Atkins said to a crowd of fellow students.

Atkins, of Laurinburg, said the shooting death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, feels "crazy" to her. Police say Scott was fatally shot by Charlotte Police Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black.

Aozjah Robinson of High Point urged the crowd to not remain silent in the wake of the recent shooting.

"Why are ya'll still quiet? Say their name, say their name," Robinson implored.

The phrase "say their name" has been used at many "Black Lives Matter" rallies as participants scream out the names of the African American men, women and children shot and killed by police in the past few years.

NCCU senior Rebekah Barber led a chant at the rally Wednesday night: "We as a people are valued, even when the world doesn't value us, and we are going to keep fighting, until everyone realizes the value in black lives."

Similar demonstrations were reportedly held at other Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the state, including Winston-Salem State, North Carolina A&T State and Shaw universities.

Meanwhile, protests continued for a second night of unrest in Charlotte. Police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse Wednesday night's crowd, and there was a second shooting. City officials reported one civilian shot another at the protests in downtown Charlotte. Governor Pat McCrory also declared a state of emergency for Charlotte.