Dana Greene Jr., a graduate student of the University of Michigan’s Graduate School, kneeled for 21-and-a-half hours on the school’s “Diag” green to protest racism and stand in solidarity with athletes attacked by President Donald Trump over the weekend.
According to Blavity, Greene Jr., who received his undergraduate degree from UMich, started kneeling at 7 AM on Monday of this week, and his protest on the Diag attracted nearly 100 teachers and students to take a knee with him. He was also accompanied by hundreds more who gathered around him in solidarity, bringing tents, pizza, yoga mats and water with them as the day wore on.
— Emily P. Lawsin (@emilylawsin) September 25, 2017
“What Colin Kaepernick did last year, taking a knee, wasn’t to disrespect the troops. In fact, I think I’m honoring the troops right now because they gave me the right to do this. My father served in the military, and … this isn’t disrespecting the flag, this is honoring it,” Greene Jr. told the school’s newspaper, The Michigan Daily. “If Black people can get killed in this country and not get any justice for their lives, for their murder, then that’s disrespecting the flag.”
Greene’s father visited his son during his nearly day-long protest, and told MLive he was “very proud” of him.
As MLive noted, Greene’s protest also happened after black students at the school had their dorm name tags defaced with racist graffiti and mere days after a white man who is unaffiliated with the university attacked a black student at a protest.
In his letter explaining his protest, Greene spain that he hoped to get the ear of both Trump and UM President Mark Schlissel, who wrote a statement approving of the graduate student’s protest but did not join him on the Diag.
“[Trump has] made it harder for people who look like me and people who don’t look like me to walk this campus, to feel comfortable in our own skin,” Greene said. “I’m here to tell him and our own campus president that what we are dealing with is not OK, it’s not right.”
“If I have to kneel here until my knees bleed,” he continued, “that’s what I’m going to do.”
You can watch video of Greene Jr.’s protest below, via MLive.