Essence
September 27, 2017 4:00 pm
Twitter / @AustinMcCoy3

As the country remains polarized by the kneeling of NFL players during the national anthem, one graduate student at the University of Michigan took the peaceful protest tradition a step further.

Dana Greene Jr. began his protest by kneeling down in front of a campus flag at 7:00 AM, where he remained until 3:30 a.m. the following morning.

In a letter to university president Mark Schlissel, Greene explained he was tired of doing nothing about the injustices he sees everyday, and for this reason, he was going to bring attention to the problem by kneeling for as long as he could.

The letter written by Greene, a Detroit native, also calls out the unfair treatment that many minority groups on his campus have faced during the five years he has spent matriculating at the Ann Arbor college. It’s a sentiment that has become increasingly more common from students of color attending predominantly white institutions.

Related article: #TakeAKnee: Celebs And NFL stars react to Trump’s latest criticism of national anthem protests

In the last few years, many have started to question if U.S. colleges have a race problem. Research has shown that the racial climate of a college campus does play a role in the academic success of its’ students. Naturally, students perform better in environments that are not considered hostile. It’s a factor that has played out on school campuses since the first days of school integration. The University of Michigan’s Diag campus is no exception.

During his demonstration, Greene was joined by other U-M students who took a knee, and supported him with drop-offs of food and water. The masters’ student told local paper M Live, “I’m doing this for every student on this campus that has ever felt like they didn’t belong here.”

Related article: The march for racial justice: It’s time to shift power away from white supremacy

Read Greene’s letter to president Schlissel in full below.

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