Black Action Society plans Wednesday die-in for Antwon Rose


Via @PittBAS | Twitter

Pitt’s Black Action Society plans to hold a peaceful die-in demonstration Wednesday afternoon at 12:50 in front of the William Pitt Union steps.

By Emily Wolfe and Brian Gentry

Pitt’s Black Action Society plans to hold a die-in Wednesday afternoon in front of the William Pitt Union steps, where demonstrators will sit, stand or lie down for 40 minutes in honor of Antwon Rose.

Information about the die-in was distributed Monday and Tuesday on social media, where supporters shared screenshots of BAS Social Action Committee group chat messages that explained the event.

In the messages, BAS social action chair Anika Jones said the event would begin at 12:50 p.m. and last 40 minutes — 10 minutes for each day of Michael Rosfeld’s trial last week.

Rosfeld, a former East Pittsburgh police officer, was found not guilty Friday night after being charged with homicide for his June 2018 fatal shooting of Rose, who was 17 and unarmed at the time of his death.

via Facebook
Screenshots shared on social media describe a planned die-in in front of the William Pitt Union Wednesday afternoon.

The messages BAS shared said the demonstration was planned to “honor the life of Antwon Rose Jr. and to show solidarity between All students and members of the University and neighboring colleges, specifically Black members.”

Jones noted there would be Pitt police officers present to protect participants from “antagonizers,” and that the demonstration is only intended to include local college students and affiliates due to concerns that outside demonstrators might not represent the interests of college protesters. However, Jones emphasized the protest is meant for solidarity with the Rose family.

“Please keep in mind that the focus of this presentation is to show support for the family of Antwon Rose Jr. and the focus is NOT on the police present,” Jones wrote.

The demonstration will not block the doors to the Union. BAS is encouraging participants to wear black or BAS attire.

BAS President Edenis Augustin said in a Tuesday phone call that the protest is intended to unite students in the wake of the shooting.

“[The goal is] just to show solidarity between all students on campus and faculty and staff, but specifically black students and just to show support for Antwon Rose’s family,” Augustin said.

Augustin said members of black student unions from other universities in the area were invited to the event as well, and that he hopes students line the sidewalk outside the Union to show support.

More than 100 people participated in a December 2014 die-in at Litchfield Towers to protest police brutality following separate instances in Missouri and New York in which police officers from the respective states were not indicted for the killing of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.