Princeton Theological Seminary, community members stage protest, die-in| Dec 8, 2014
Approximately 400 community members and students from the Princeton Theological Seminary staged a walkout in protest of the recent decisions against indictments in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at 12:30 p.m. on Monday on Nassau Street.
The protest, called "Thy Kingdom Come," was organized by two student groups from the Princeton Theological Seminary: the Association of Black Seminarians and the Community Action Network, according to Megan Corbi, a second-year student at the seminary and a co-administrator of the Community Action Network.
Chants at the protest included “black lives matter” and “we can’t breathe.”
The students and members of the seminary community congregated on the seminary’s main quad at 12:30 p.m. and marched downtown to begin their protest.
The protest also included a four-and-a-half minute die-in, representing the four and a half hours that Michael Brown’s body was left on the street.
Among the participants was Craig Barnes, the current president of the Princeton Theological Seminary.
“Today’s student-led protest gave voice to the deep pain, frustration and sorrow that so many on our campus and around the country are feeling,” Barnessaid.
He added that he felt honored to stand beside the student leaders as they encouraged their peers to address the "systemic injustices" behind the "tragedies" in Ferguson and Staten Island.
Corbi noted the importance of student organization in the protest, which was the group’s first protest around this issue. She explained that the students cared deeply about the recent cases, so the fact that the demonstrations were entirely student-run gave the students a chance to reflect that sentiment.
Community Action Network is a group on the seminary’s campus that is designed to create systemic change in the community by seeking to partner with local nonprofits in the area, according to Corbi.
Jacqueline Nelson, a second-year seminary student and moderator of the Association of Black Seminarians, said the organizers did not expect the number of people that ultimately showed up to protest.
“As we were walking, we saw people joining in," Nelson said. "When we got to Nassau Street, people came out of stores and came out of the University campus; they came out of their residences, and they joined us in the protest."
The protest was planned about a week ago, according to Nelson, when both the Association of Black Seminarians and the Community Action Network met to discuss the issues they wanted to address. She added that a main focus was to include the entire seminary in the project.
Nelson explained that the goal of the demonstration was not just to protest the Brown and Garner cases but also to specifically respond as a church community. The students, according to Nelson, wanted to join in the efforts that are happening across the country and to stand in solidarity with communities around the world.
“The church also has a place in this movement, and the church has an obligation to respond not only in our prayers, not only in our quiet reflection and meditation but with our feet as well,” she said.
Many students from the seminary also participated in the walkout at theUniversity last Thursday, Nelson said.
Corbi said the seminary students were in full support of the University’s demonstration, adding thatmany people felt that it was important to acknowledge that a second non-indictment decision had been announced.Students at the University staged a walkout