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Suspension Lifted For Ariyana Smith’s Ferguson Protest

Ariyana Smith, a member of the Knox College women’s basketball team, was recently heavily criticized for publicly protesting the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson.

Smith was with her team in Clayton Missouri (where the grand jury convened) on November 28 and raised her arms in the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture during the national anthem.

After kneeling before the American flag, she then attempted to lay on the gym’s floor for 4.5 minutes to symbolize the 4.5 hours Mike Brown’s body lay uncovered in the street.

WQAD reports:

Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, reversed its decision to suspend a women’s basketball player who protested the Ferguson decision right before a regulation game in St. Louis, County Missouri over the weekend.

“I could not go into that gymnasium and pretend that everything was okay. I could not, in good conscience, I could not play that game,” said Ariyana Smith, a junior from New Lenox, Illinois.

The team was about to compete against Fontbonne University on Saturday, November 28, 2014, in Clayton, Missouri; the city where the grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Smith is seen on cellphone video raising her arms in a “hands up, don’t shoot” posture, and then she lays on the gym floor. She later leaves the gym.

“I knew it was gonna shock people. I knew they were gonna be upset, but I couldn’t let that stop me. I could not go to the city of St. Louis and not acknowledge the sacrifice the protestors were making with their bodies. People are being gassed. To me, that demonstration was absolutely respectful,” she said.

Knox College athletic officials initially handed down a one game suspension for Smith, because she left the game and her team.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, they reversed that decision.

“Upon review of the situation and discussion with the team, and in recognition of the larger national context, the decision was made to reverse the suspension and the player has been invited to resume all basketball activities,” said a news release from the college.

Team member Sharette Fisher says the decision was unanimous.

“We, as a team, said that the protest that Ariyana did was very brave and noble. A lot of us admired the fact she did it, and the suspension should be uplifted,” Fisher said.


We applaud this young lady for standing by her views and making the statement that BLACK LIVES MATTER, shame on the officials for suspending her in the first place.

Check the footage below!



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