BY ZACH ESSIG AND HELEN MALHOTRA
At STEP today, what started as a teacher-led protest against police brutality, turned into a school-wide die-in that occurred on the atrium floor. This die-in, organized by Social Studies teacher Michelle Bollinger, included both teachers and students lying down on the atrium floor to symbolize those who have been killed by the hands of police. Participants gathered five minutes before the time the die-in was scheduled to create posters and share their thoughts on police brutality and racial profiling.
This comes in the wake of recent protests across the nation over the result of the non-indictment of both officer Pantaleo and officer Wilson. Here in D.C., there have been protests across the city and various die-ins have been staged, such as the recent one under the Chinese Arch in Chinatown.
When asked why she wanted to stage a die-in at Wilson, Michelle Bollinger said, “To achieve change; We did it because there is a movement right now and it’s our way of bringing that movement here to Wilson and I hope that people find a way to get involved.” She also noted that she thought, “it was a really important moment for our community and I really appreciate everyone who was involved, weather they made a sign, laid down, or just stood there and supported us.” Human rights club leader Sophie McDowell, who also participated today, said “I thought the die-in was really unifying for the school. Before it, I felt that the Wilson community wasn’t really doing anything about Ferguson. But now I see the community is concerned, especially with the teachers doing it, for it showed that they really care.” She and other Wilson students have been planning a protest at Wilson, which will take place on December 17th from 8:00 AM to 8:45 AM.
PHOTO TAKEN BY ROCHELLE O’BRIEN