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University of Florida students hold die-in for Eric Garner, killed by NYPD

By Farah Khan |
December 8, 2014
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 University of Florida students hold die-in.
University of Florida students hold die-in. (Fight Back! News/Steven Longmire)

Gainesville, FL - 150 students participated in a die-in, called for by the University of Florida’s chapter of Dream Defenders, Dec. 5, to protest ongoing police brutality in the U.S. After the decision to not indict the NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo who murdered Eric Garner, protests gained speed all over the U.S.

The Gainesville action demanded an end to racist police violence and justice for Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and other African American people killed and brutalized by the police.

Protesters wore all black and met in the campus’s busiest area, Turlington Plaza, at 12:35 p.m. on Dec. 5 to stage a die-in during class change. Two Dream Defenders shouted out in unison, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” before dropping to the ground, with everyone else falling down around them. It was a powerful visual that caused everyone to stop and stare, blocking off Turlington plaza.

After four and a half minutes, Trenton Brooks from Dream Defenders gave an emotional speech, standing up and addressing the gathering crowd, “We can’t breathe like we’re in the eye of a hurricane, but we know FEMA isn’t coming…We can’t breathe, because we can’t stand the injustice…bodies are falling day after day, night after night. Every 28 hours a Black human being is killed by the police. If you’re still breathing, you better hold your breath.”

After all the participants in the die-in stood up, Azaari Mason of UF Dream Defenders urged protesters, “Keep the fight up! The struggle is not over. It is just beginning.”