Fourteen voices joined together in a peaceful demonstration held on the BYU campus Wednesday afternoon, inviting BYU students to learn more about the headlining police killings in Missouri, New York and Ohio.
At precisely 11:55 a.m., a small group commenced singing the song “The Hanging Tree” from recent box office success film “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” in the courtyard between the Joseph F. Smith Building and the Harold B. Lee Library. They held several handprinted signs: “Grateful for good cops,” “We can’t breathe,” “Remembering Eric Garner,” “Remembering Michael Brown” and “Remembering Tamir Rice.”
BYU grad student Benjamin Killgore organized the demonstration through a Facebook event. “I didn’t want to stand by and pretend like nothing had happened,” Killgore said in a phone interview with The Universe. “We hope for more change, for things to keep moving.”
Killgore was initially intrigued by the grand jury decision in Ferguson and the ensuing protests. His research through various and varied news channels led him to the video of Eric Garner’s arrest and death.
“I cried a lot seeing the video and what happened,” he said. “It made me so sad that someone had to die that way.”
Killgore stressed the rhetoric of the demonstration. He wanted to convey “the right message at the right time in the right place for the right audience.”
The message Killgore hoped to portray is focused on raising awareness. He hopes people will rethink the issues and take a deeper and closer look at what he calls “wrongful persecutions.”
“I feel that I’ve said what I felt I needed to,” he said. “Now it’s time for people to get out there and have conversations about what’s happening.”