Students at Candler School of Theology led a peaceful “die-in” protest on the Emory campus on Dec. 4 in response to recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. The New York grand jury’s Dec. 3 decision not to prosecute a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner came one week after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo. announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be prosecuted in the shooting death of Michael Brown that has sparked protests across the country.

“We cannot study in a school of theology and continue to live and interact daily as if these lives do not matter,” student body president Sam White wrote in an address to the Candler community. “We must speak.”

Approximately 200 students, faculty and staff from Candler and Emory lay on the ground in Rudolph Courtyard between Candler’s atrium and Cannon Chapel, holding signs and chanting. Students from Candler and Emory College took turns speaking from a microphone, along with members of Candler’s faculty, including Dean Jan Love, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care Gregory Ellison II, Assistant Professor of Youth Education and Peacebuilding Elizabeth Corrie, and James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership Robert Franklin. Emory’s newly installed Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life Bridgette Young Ross, the first African American to hold that post, also spoke. Franklin closed the protest, referencing a sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. as he named the participants “transformational non-conformists.”

Coverage of the die-in has been picked up by outside media outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta’s WSB-TV. See related media below:

Related Media Coverage:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution News

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photo Gallery

WSB-TV

The BBC.com (Photo)

WXIA-TV, 11 Alive

USA Today (Photos)

Fox 5 Atlanta

WSB Radio

Related Blog Posts:

Nicole Symmonds on UrbanFaith.com

Richard Weinberg on The Huffington Post

Claire Carter on Candler's Enthused! Student Blog