As part of a die-in demonstration, about 20 students deliberately lay sprawled on the cement in front of the Student Union Monday afternoon.

Organizers said the demonstration was inspired by the recent cases of police shootings of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the fatal restraint of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, among others.

Students lay on the ground — some holding signs, others holding hands — for 12 minutes, symbolizing the age of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the time of his death.

The effort was led by two junior political science majors, Yuleidy Gonzalez Nieto and Christine Turner. Turner said the demonstration was also inspired by their own personal experiences with what she felt was racial discrimination.

"It's time for us to stand up and do something about it," Turner said.

Gonzalez Nieto said her passion for the issue broke the fear and nervousness she experienced prior to holding the event.

"This was also a memorial to commemorate these people and say that their lives mattered," Gonzalez Nieto said. "If I stand here and complain and do nothing, it leaves me with more anxiety, pressure, fear, anger."

The two spirited students recently gathered friends to initiate a group called the Civil Rights Committee at UCF that meets on a regular basis to discuss and tackle societal issues such as racism.

"If it's not addressed now, if we become any more complacent, it will run rampant," Turner said.


Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_ or email her at

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