Yesterday the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team decided to not play its playoff game in protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the continuing pattern of racialized police violence. This protest quickly grew. First all of the NBA was cancelled yesterday. Then all WNBA games were cancelled, several baseball games, a major tennis tournament was shut down for a day, MLS soccer events were cancelled, and some NFL teams voted to cancel practice in solidarity. All of this took place after historic numbers of people marched for police accountability, an end to the racialized aggression perpetrated by the police, and undoing the era of mass incarceration which so disproportionately targets young black men.
Plainly, this is an historic moment and an important cause. The moment is ripe for action. But if this current wave of protests is restricted to sports, its impact will be limited. I ask us to consider whether we should support universities lending their voice to this moment by shutting down campus for a day. What are the important obstacles to doing so? What are the most important considerations against doing so? And who, if anyone, has the power to make such decisions? If we are persuaded such a move justified, how might we most effectively advocate for it? If we are persuaded such a move unwise or impossible, is there something colleges and universities might do short of shutting down campus to show support for this movement in a timely way?