GREENSBORO, N.C. – For about an hour, all you could hear was silence.
Although it was an unusual quietness for the busy Elliott University Center, the message was still heard loud and clear.
Dozens of University of North Carolina at Greensboro students lined the main hall of the EUC and either sat, stood or laid in silence during a demonstration that was part of “I Matter Monday.”
Some of the students had tape over their mouths along with the names of people killed in police-involved shootings on their shirts.
“To me, their events speak louder than we ever could,” said student Jane White, organizer of “I Matter Monday.”
White says it was important for her classmates to know that each individual has a voice, which is part of why she wanted to focus the demonstration under the phrase “I Matter.”
Odie Roberson says he was thinking about his son as he participated.
“When I think about how valuable he is to me and how someone can just take his life without any good cause, it makes me emotional, so that’s part of what I became emotional about,” Roberson said.
Aubrey Clark was so moved by the demonstration that she began hugging the participants.
“I just wanted to hug them and let them know, ‘I love you, I support you, what you’re doing is completely legitimate,’” she said.
At one point, the silence was broken when White led students to repeat sentences including, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.”
The demonstration ended with participants hugging one another and telling someone nearby “I love you.”
University administrators were at the demonstration to make sure other students could get to class and other locations without disruption.