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The Carletonian

Representative Keith Ellison to meet with students

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In an effort to increase student involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison will speak and lead a panel discussion this evening on issues relating to police brutality. The event is the result of a group project of four students – Sofia Chang, Taylor Gee, Dahee Lee, and Carlie Joseph – in Professor Devashree Gupta’s Comparative Social Movements class, and primarily aims at empowering campus groups to be more active in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Keith Ellison, who represents the Minneapolis area in the House of Representatives, is the first Muslim to be elected to congress. He is also the first African-American to represent Minnesota in the House. Students organizing the event believe that Ellison’s presence will invigorate campus efforts toward the movement, and draw students that are not usually involved.

“Black Lives Matter doesn’t actually get that much play at Carleton,” said Sofia Chang, one of the four students whose class project attracted Ellison to campus.“We want it to be more of a sustained thing taken up by the entire Carleton community.”

Organizers want Rep. Ellison’s visit to spearhead future events hosted by other campus groups. At the end of the event tonight, different student groups and some offices like the CCCE will propose events for next term that will focus on deepening campus awareness of Black Lives Matter.

“I think we want to empower these different groups, like the BSA and CORAL, groups with really diverse kind of agendas and programs, to think about how Black Lives Matter relates to their topic or issue,” said Chang.

As a consequence, this event is all about creating sustained campus energy around the movement. And the organizers want to create energy in a visual way as well. To do this, several students plan to hold a die-in, which will involve students lying down in Sayles to disrupt Friday foot traffic. This will be similar to a die-in held at the Mall of America last December.

“It’s very dramatic and theatrical,” said Chang. “The idea is to get mass loads of people blocking the area, and visually demonstrating the number of people, and in a way symbolizing, the victims of police brutality.”

The organizers hope that the die-in will gain students’ attention, and alert students to Mr. Ellison’s visit. Through the disruption of normal routines, the die-in is intended to let students know that police brutality affects all members of the Carleton, as well as the global community.

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