Taking a Stand
On Saturday, November 29, 2014, days after the Grand Jury Decision, Knox College Women’s Basketball Player Ariyana Smith bravely held a one woman demonstration at the Knox College v. Fontbonne University game held in Clayton, MO.
During the singing of the national anthem, Ariyana walked with her hands up towards the American flag and fell to the ground for a full 4.5 minutes to bring awareness to the inhumane killing of Micheal Brown in which his body was left to lay on a neighborhood street for 4.5 hours.
While Ariyana lay on the ground in honor of fallen black lives, she was told to move so they could start the game. Refusing to compromise the integrity of the movement, Ariyana stood after the full 4.5 minutes with her fist proudly in their air.
She has been suspended from the team indefinitely. After the suspension, her coach unjustly had her escorted out of the building by security.
Not alot of people in the gym but it showed the young woman's courage even more so.
Update: The college has changed their decision on this suspension. Likely public support for the young woman was strong. In addition it is interesting to know that the game was played at Fontbonne University located in Clayton, Missouri, the town in which the Grand Jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for his role in Brown’s death was announced. The national Veterans for Peace office (where I slept on the floor while there last week) is just a couple blocks from the County jail and courthouse in Clayton. Here is the college reconsideration statement:
“Upon review of the situation and discussion with the team, and in recognition of the larger national context, the decision was made to reverse the suspension, and the player has been invited to resume all basketball activities,” the release said. “The college deeply appreciates the many viewpoints expressed by the women’s basketball team and their thoughtful dialogue as we sought to arrive at a resolution that considered all perspectives.”