GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Although classes weren’t in session Monday, dozens of ECU students protested on campus to teach the general public a big lesson.
Organizers began planning the protests after two black men were shot and killed by police officers last week. Those shootings came just before five Dallas Police officers were shot and killed by an armed black man.
Brittany Weatherall, who organized the protest, said she hoped to educate the community about what was happening, and how the lives of blacks were being impacted. She said they specifically planned the protest during freshman orientation.
“ECU, yeah we’re a diverse place, but it’s not always what they make it out to be,” Weatherall said. “I want them to see this is what we do at ECU, this is what we stand for.”
Others protesting, like Deja-Denice Sherrod, said there are racial issues alive and well at ECU.
“This is probably the most segregated situation I’ve ever been in in my life,” she said.
Sherrod said she’s been on campus for two years, and despite trying, has yet to make one white friend at ECU. She said while she hasn’t experienced racism from police, insults are regularly thrown at her for her race.
Police were on hand for the protest but were never needed. Towards the end, they started handing out water bottles to those protesting.
Those upset with the current state of things around the country said unity is key in solving big problems.
“We have got to stand together,” said Amir Rankin with Democracy NC. “I don’t believe every police officer is bad. I don’t believe every police officer is coming to shoot every black man that they see, or shoot every black woman they see.”
WNCT spoke with some incoming freshman and their parents who said the protests didn’t impact their decision about coming to school in Greenville, nor were they concerned about their safety.