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Apr. 24—Half a dozen K-State students and staff observed a moment of silence Friday during a rose vigil to honor those nationwide who died from police violence.
The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs hosted a vigil in the Morris Family Multicultural Center. Attendees each laid a single rose in the center of a table to symbolize the lives lost — in particular George Floyd, a man murdered by Minneapolis police in May of last year.
On Wednesday, a jury in Minneapolis found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges relating to Floyd's death. He faces up to 40 years in prison for one count of second-degree murder.
Director of Diversity and Multicultural Student Life Trumanue Lindsey said it seems like events like this vigil are held more often than they should be.
"What I mean by that is, we have to come together, make announcements, and hold moments of silence in solidarity for continuous violence," Lindsey said. "We want to do what we can to communicate to students and the community that we are in this fight with them; myself as a Black man, I'm in this fight, I don't have a choice."
The Staley School of Leadership Studies is offering virtual spaces for students, faculty and staff to meet and process some of the traumas multicultural people are experiencing from things like systemic racism and discrimination. Individuals can register for those virtual sessions through the Staley School of Leadership Studies web page.
Couples and family therapy doctoral student Loren Taylor said the moment of silence symbolized the uncomfortable silence felt by the families of those killed by police.
"It doesn't matter that I'm a Ph.D. student, it doesn't matter. ... all the stuff that I'm doing, because outside of K-State, there's still a lot going on," Taylor said. "This moment is dedicated for these people."
Taylor said in a way, people need moments like this.
"I think it's easy to see these (acts of violence) happen, and then go distract ourselves with something," Taylor said. "It's just that thing of, if we can take a moment to focus on what's important, then that's a good thing."
Taylor said it's good for people to acknowledge how they are feeling as they receive news of police violence or unjust deaths. He said K-State, in particular with Lindsey's work with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Life, is doing a lot to bring racial justice issues into conversation, but there are still places on campus where those conversations are not happening.
"I don't want to sit here and say K-State doesn't care about anyone, but I do think there is probably more that can be done," Taylor said. "I think we have people who want an easy way to learn about these issues, but this stuff isn't pretty, it's not easy."
Lindsey said there is still a lot of work to do to bring people together to end systemic racism.
"I would like for us to get past it," Lindsey said. "Unfortunately, this is the foundation of this country, so it will take a lot for us to get past it, knowing that this system and ideology is rooted and embedded in the very formation and foundation of this country."