AKRON, OHIO - It was Homecoming Weekend at the University of Akron and on Saturday, the football team took on Miami of Ohio.
But it was the action off the field that had many people talking, after dozens of students stayed seated during the National Anthem.
Instead of holding their hands to their hearts, some held up fists, as a sign of solidarity in the wake of deadly police brutality cases.
“This has become a statistic. That’s how great this problem is,” organizer Angel Poole said. “I think to bring awareness and to bring education is the key.”
“We’re all affected by the things that’s going on with the police brutality,” student Joseph Gogins said. “And being a black male at a predominantly white institution, and by me working graveyard shifts, I worry every night going to and from my job because I walk.”
The students chose the weekend knowing there would be a larger turnout and more alumni.
“I myself I would stand, but I still understand where they’re coming from,” alumnus Richard Johnson said. “There are issues of race that we as a society don’t want to deal with.”
“I’m sort of mixed,” said Gladys Johnson, also an Akron graduate. “I think it’s their right to sit if they want to. It’s not as if they’re being disruptive or disrespectful.”
The group, made up mainly of African-American students from several campus clubs, was met with respect. There were no problems to report.
“I think it’s important that we take a stand before the issue turned into something where a face is on our shirt or we’re doing a protest because someone has died,” said Angel Poole.
"Just trying to make as big of a difference as possible in a positive way," Joseph Gogins said.