ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – One young man at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has taken taking a knee quite a bit further.
Graduate student Dana Greene, Jr. spent more than 20 hours on his knees on the pavement, facing a flag at the “block M” on the campus Diag, beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday. “If got to kneel until my knees bleed, then that’s what I’m going to do,” he told MLive. “I am doing this for every student on this campus that has ever felt like they didn’t belong here.”
A day after some NFL players took a knee or locked arms in protest of police shootings — and in response to comments by President Donald Trump — Greene wrote in an open letter to University President Mark Schlissel that he was tired of doing nothing:
“Dear President Schlissel,
I have attended the University of Michigan for five years. I have crossed the fountain in Ingalls Mall as an incoming freshman and as a graduate. I’ve walked the halls of our dorms as a Resident assistant and I’ve mopped the floors of our dining halls. I’ve marched in the Diag when our campus and country faced the tension of racial strife. I am a black man and this weekend I watched many black men take a knee during our country’s national anthem to bring attention to the inequality in this country. I also watched the President of the United States disrespect those men referring to them as “Sons of Bitches” and demanding that they should be fired from their jobs.
During the course of the last year I have watched as anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-Latinx, and anti-immigrant rhetoric has raced across our campus and across our country and I can no longer stand silently by. You see I had become numb to what our country and our campus had become. I had convinced myself that if I simply continued to move forward with my studies and with my job that things would get better. I am no longer numb but instead I will use this moment in time to make a statement.
I will kneel in the Diag facing the flag in silent protest until there is nothing left in me. I am prepared to miss class and work for a simple idea. I am not kneeling in disrespect to our troops or to our country. I am kneeling because we should be better than this. I am kneeling because I am tired of doing nothing. I am kneeling because I want this campus and this country to acknowledge a fact that I know to be true. We are not and have never lived by the idea of our founding that ALL men are created equal. I am kneeling because we our better than this.
Dana Greene Jr.
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
School of Public Health Research Assistant Health Behavior Health Education Prevention Research Center”
In solidarity, Green was joined by other U-M students and community members, many of whom joined in the kneeling.
Green got up, his protest ending, at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.