By Nadir Roberts
There was an unexpected addition to this year’s Homecoming festivities.
At approximately 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, students gathered in front of Trenton Hall to form a peaceful protest group and speak out about the marginalization of minorities.
As Homecoming attendees began to question what was happening outside of Trenton Hall, their questions were answered at 1:21 p.m., when around 50 people knelt to peacefully protest the injustices that historically marginalized individuals have endured.
At 1:26 p.m., everyone who took a knee rose their fist.
Leading the large, diverse crowd was Sam Serrato, a junior urban education and Spanish double major. Sarrato, who organized the event within the span of approximately two weeks, specifically put the peaceful protest together to show some of the disparities minorities face, not only in the world but on the College’s campus.
“We take a knee for our melanated community that has been deemed a threat due to misperceptions, stereotypes and fear,” Serrato said in his “take a knee” speech.
The peaceful protesters not only called for strides to be made for racial equality, but also for inclusion and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We take a knee for the LGBTQ community who has been subject to many accounts of homophobia, transphobia and hate crimes,” Serrato said. “We take a knee for the necessity of diversity, inclusion and exposure that is needed to acknowledge and alleviate the hardships that minorities face.”
There has been recent controversy on what “taking a knee” represents. While some believe that kneeling is an act of defiance against President Donald Trump, participants of the Homecoming protest knelt to demonstrate their lack of acceptance for marginalizing minority groups.
“This is a reminder of where we need to go as an institution and where we’re going,” said Trahan Jr., the College’s director of diversity and inclusion.
Trahan plans to hold campus-wide diversity events such as Critical Conversations, a speaker series on diversity, to promote inclusion and acceptance of minority groups at the College.
Danielle Parks, a junior philosophy major and the vice president of Black Student Union, believes the event was fitting to occur during Homecoming to mirror the movement’s prevalence at NFL games.
“It represented the unspoken marginalized pain,” Parks said. “It spread awareness. These issues are alive and well, I didn’t want to miss it.”
Once the event concluded, participants gathered around Serrato and thanked him for organizing the event in a heartfelt moment. The peaceful protesters were happy to have raised attention to diversity and inclusion issues on campus and leave spectators with a clear message about what it means to take a knee.