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DU Gathering Responds to Police Shootings

Campus will observe moment of silence and address fears around individual safety

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Two deadly police shootings in as many days are making headlines across the country. Like many of the police shootings in recent months, these involve white officers and black male suspects, and the shootings were captured on camera.

The first shooting happened Tuesday, July 5, outside of Baton Rouge, La., in a convenience store parking lot, where Alton Sterling, 37, was shot several times while being held on the ground by police. The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man with a gun. Federal authorities are now in charge of investigating the shooting.

The second shooting happened July 6 during a traffic stop for a broken taillight in Falcon Heights, Minn. The car’s driver, 32-year-old Philando Castile, told the officer he was armed and had a concealed carry permit. However, when he reached for his wallet, the officer fired. Castile was in the car with his fiancée and her 4-year-old daughter.

“As our nation grapples with the murder of two men, it is necessary for those in our community to have an opportunity to convene,” says Tracey Adams-Peters, DU’s director of Student Success. Peters is organizing an informal gathering for the DU campus community for Friday, July 8. It is an opportunity to hold a moment of silence and commit to do more against injustice.

“It is important that we come together and share our frustrations, our fears and our despair in an environment where we spend the majority of our life,” Peters says. “At DU we want to recognize that we are indeed family. When one hurts, we all hurt.”

Peters hopes to start an open dialogue where individuals will be able to express their fears and concerns around individual safety. “It is important for those of us who question our safety to know that we can find pockets of love and concern in our own backyard. We want to let everyone know that our lives matter, Black Lives Matter to all, not just to some.”

The gathering will begin at noon in the Driscoll Gallery. Counselors from the DU Health and Counseling Center will be available for those who need help.