Rejected posters find home at Lane

Exhibit mourning lives lost in police action put on display

Anna C.K. Smith // The Torch
From right, Titan students, Ryan Miller and Ed Colcord, discuss the 80 Black Lives Matter posters hanging in Building 10. The posters were originally to be displayed at Churchill High School but were rejected by faculty for their sensitive content.

The walls of Lane Community College’s Building 10 are lined with eighty faces and stories of African-Americans killed by the police over the last 20 years. The posters are being displayed at Lane after being rejected by Churchill High School.

The posters all have a portrait of a victim and a description of the interaction they had with the police. The interactions include police reacting to small accounts of theft, attempting drug-busts and even responding to an accidentally-triggered life-aid necklace. Each story is unique, but they all conclude with the death of the victim as a result of the police’s actions. Underneath each interaction is a description of the repercussions the police faced after the death, with 29 of them reading “no indictment.” The bottom of each poster states that the victim’s life matters.

The reactions to the posters varied.

“I wasn’t expecting to see them,” second-year student Nickolas Ketchum said. “I don’t think it will matter much at Lane. Most of us are left-leaning.”

Another second-year student, Cedar Rogers, agreed. “As a general consensus, everyone at Lane thinks racism is bad.”

Building 10 is the location of Early College & Career Opportunities, an alternative high school that offers a diploma through credit recovery opportunities. Jared Morton is a fifth-year senior at ECCO.

“I think of Black Lives Matter as a hate group, in a way,”  Morton said. “They are saying you should kill white cops. I think that, of course, all lives matter, but we kind of just glorify that black lives matter.”

The posters have both male and female victims ranging from ages (age) to (age.) One of the many stories is about 12-year-old DeAuntra Terrel Farrow. The poster describes how Farrow was walking down a street with his 14-year-old cousin, holding a toy gun, when he was shot and killed by a police officer. The officer claimed to realize that the “gun Farrow was holding was a toy” only after he had shot him. The officer, like many, was not indicted.

Another story describes how 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlan accidentally called the police with his life-aid necklace in 2011. When they responded he refused to let them in, insisting that he did not need help. An officer called Chamberlan a “nigger,” and then they broke down his door. Chamberlan attempted to charge at them with a butcher knife and was tasered and shot. The officer responsible for Chamberlan’s death was not indicted.

At Churchill High School, it wasn’t the students, but the faculty, who rejected the posters.

“Churchill is the most diverse school in 4J, but the administration are white, and many of them are really conservative,” Jesse Kidd, a junior at Churchill, explained. “Black Lives Matter is an amazing organization. It does a lot to combat police brutality. White people are too scared, they need to get an education.”

The posters are displayed to the public on the first and second story of Building 10 at LCC.