Thursday, June 30, 2022

Black Students' Alliance hopes to build community following release of Lyoya footage

April 15, 2022
<p>Protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Police Department on April 13, 2022. Following the release of video footage of the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, 26, by a police officer during a traffic stop on April 4, protesters took to the streets to show support for Lyoya and his family and continue the fight for racial justice and equity.</p><p></p>

Protesters gathered outside the Grand Rapids Police Department on April 13, 2022. Following the release of video footage of the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya, 26, by a police officer during a traffic stop on April 4, protesters took to the streets to show support for Lyoya and his family and continue the fight for racial justice and equity.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

The MSU Black Students’ Alliance, or BSA, responded to the release of video footage of Patrick Lyoya’s death.

BSA’s outgoing president Kenneth Franklin published a statement on the Instagram page. BSA will also hold a vigil on Tuesday, April 19 at 8:30 p.m. at The Rock on Farm Lane to honor Lyoya.

“I know right now I’m still processing everything that’s going on after seeing that video,” Franklin said. “I know my community is as well. So I wrote that letter just to let people know how I felt personally watching the video and I want you to know that I know how the community will feel and how we can move forward from that.”

Franklin also was compelled to write this message due to the proximity of Grand Rapids to East Lansing.

“As the president, I am the voice of the Black MSU community,” Franklin said. “We will really just provide the best support at hand, we will fight for them and we will speak against these matters to administrators, how administrators can be the best support for all students.”

Franklin noted the support from administrators, specifically President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s letter to the MSU community. 

“Because this happened so many times, we voiced it so many times, (administrators) know already how to stay in solidarity with the Black students,” Franklin said.

Franklin said BSA’s role in hosting events like Tuesday’s vigil is to inform the MSU community and provide a safe space.

“It’s very important to do these events because it spreads awareness, it educates,” Franklin said. “It lets people let their emotions flow.”

Franklin has strived to build community at MSU.

“My motto for this year at BSA is to change the environment around you, change the world,” Franklin said. “I want to make sure that while I’m here at MSU, I can educate so many students, spread awareness to so many students so they can know what’s going on, know that being in these positions, being in these conversations are very important. Your voice does matter.”

As outgoing president, he hopes BSA continues to pursue this mission in the coming years. 

“I’ve been spreading that campaign all year long and building that unified voice as one,” Franklin said. “Now that this year has come to a close and this happened, it’s showtime. How can we come together and show our voice again? And louder this time? That’s the main goal.”

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