On April 19, the student organization Black United Students held a silent march across Kent State University to protest gun violence.
The protesters commenced the march at Oscar Ritchie Hall and marched toward a variety of locations on campus, where other student protesters were met. The locations that students marched to and congregated at were: the Esplanade, Bowman Hall, and the fountain on the K.
The march culminated with all student protesters marching into the Kent State Student Center, where they then stood in silence while holding up signs. Of the signs held, many showed messages advocating for gun control such as “Stop Gun Violence”, “Over 54,000 Hispanics Killed by guns between 1999 + 2015” and “4,229 people have died from gun violence in 2018.”
Other signs carried by students were unrelated to gun violence and read, “Don’t Let White Dominance Win!!!”, “Free Palestine!” and “Stop Gentrification.” Students held their respective signs for 20 minutes before dispersing.
Kaitlin Bennett, former president of the Kent State chapter of Turning Point USA, was present at the Student Center during the protest, along with other members of the Kent State Liberty Hangout club. Bennett approached the group of students, asking them if they had any desire to talk about the demonstration and the causes they are advocating for. The protesters remained silent, declining to comment.
Eventually, one non-silent protester approached Bennett to explain her position. The student said, “We are here to educate people on what’s going on in our communities.”
When Bennett confronted the student with gun violence statistics, the student answered, “We’re here because of all these problems in our communities,” and pointed to the signs being held by the silent protesters.
Kevin Cline, president of the Kent State chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, was also present. In an interview with Liberty Hangout during the event, Cline stated, “I’m not really sure what they’re protesting, because there’s so much going on.”
Cline continued, “I think that they could maybe explain a little bit better . . . [but] I’m glad that they are exercising their right to civil disobedience.”
The event was not registered with the university, but the Center for Student Involvement confirmed that it was in accordance with the rules regarding protests and demonstrations at Kent State.
Black United Students president Chynna Baldwin acknowledged a request for comment from The Kent Conservative but declined to comment.