Editorial: Join WKU’s peace march

Emily Little/HERALD

Herald Editorial Staff

The Issue: Black Americans are killed at a disproportionate rate compared to other races.

Our Stance: WKU students should band together in the peaceful march and vigil on campus today. 


A group of students are planning a peace march today, Tuesday, Sept. 16, in remembrance of black victims of racial profiling across the country. All WKU students should join in the march.

It’s been two years since the unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. A Change.org petition created by Martin’s parents is still online with 2.27 million supporters. The petition succeeded in raising charges against Zimmerman, but today he walks free. 

About a year later, Renisha McBride knocked on a door in Michigan. She was greeted by a fatal shotgun blast. 

Earlier this summer, Eric Garner was being arrested for illegally selling cigarettes. New York Police Department placed Garner in a chokehold. He couldn’t breathe, and died.

 Michael Brown could have started his first semester of classes at Vatterott College this fall. Instead, the unarmed teen was shot and killed on a street in Ferguson, Missouri.

Black Americans are targeted as criminals and killed because of the color of their skin. These incidents occur across the country. 

About 2,000 of WKU’s students are black, composing about 10 percent of the student body according to the WKU Factbook. The march was organized by some of those black students, but participation shouldn’t be limited to black students. 

 If a WKU student or faculty member can make their way to the march, they should. Students of all backgrounds should come together in remembrance of Brown, Martin and other modern victims of racial profiling in the United States. 

The voice of students can make a difference. Non-violent direct action is the means for change. Diverse student voices, many of which belong to individuals of the same age as famous victims, can make the needed changes. The march can empower WKU’s black student body, but it needs to speak as a cohesive unit to do so. 

Students are not living in a post-racial society. African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white Americans according to the NAACP. The same report said that African Americans account for about one million of the 2.3 million currently in jail in the United States. 

Anyone who pays attention to WKU alerts alarming students of yet another hooded black male committing a robbery knows that criminal stereotyping is a huge issue even in Bowling Green. If Martin’s death didn’t teach Americans that being a black male in a hoodie isn’t a crime, then hopefully peaceful movements can.

Many are feeling a fresh sense of injustice after the events in Ferguson at summer’s end. Protests resonated around the world. These are universal rights that are being violated, and every student at WKU should do their part to prompt social change. 

This week, WKU is celebrating Constitution Week. There’s no better way to participate than to join in the peace march and vigil in order to exercise your First Amendment right to freedom of peaceable assembly. 

The march starts at 3:30 p.m. in the Pearce-Ford Tower courtyard and will travel up the Hill to the Chandler Memorial Chapel. If you can’t make it, tweet your support or find a way to make your voice heard.  

Disclaimer: Upcoming news coverage of the peace march is in no way related to this editorial. The assigned reporter was not involved with the writing process and operated without influence of the Herald Editorial Staff.