Dozens of Morgan State University students gathered at the school’s academic quad Friday around noon. Some held up signs, while others held their fists in the air. Others lay on the ground, appearing lifeless. All stayed very still.
Led by on-campus group Dubois-Diggs Sociological Society, the students performed a “social justice time capsule” version of the viral mannequin challenge, which requires all participants to freeze in place, often in creative scenarios.
“We wanted to encapsulate what it is to be black in America at this current moment, so that in the future, you can show what has been going on in America at this time as a black person, especially being at [a historically black university],” said senior and student leader Chinedu Nwokeafor, who helped organize the event.
“With that being the tagline, we left it open to the imagination.”
Nwokeafor, 24, said organizers promoted the event on campus through social media, fliers, and promotional videos posted the morning of the event.
“It just spread like wildfire,” and students came on their own accord with their own ideas and poses, Nwokeafor said.
One person portrayed San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. Another group formed a prayer circle, while others held up signs protesting Donald Trump and the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. Even people who had just finished class joined the formation, Nwokeafor said.
“What is the greatest feeling, I love things that are all student-led," he said. "I'm very proud ... I hope [people] remember — even though we are just students — that we’re involved in all movements and that we're conscious and that we’re paying attention and that we're active. That's the whole point of this.”