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Annual Kent, Jackson State Memorial Ceremony Planned for May 3

The SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association will honor the victims of the 1970 Kent State and Jackson State university shootings at the 48th commemorative ceremony Thursday, May 3 at 12:30 p.m. on the Kehoe front lawn.

To honor the students who died at these shootings, the Student Association will be joined by faculty speaker Dr. Gary Kroll, professor of history, student speaker Jessica Falace and the SUNY Plattsburgh Gospel Choir.

Clashes with Guard, Police

In May 1970, four people were killed and nine were injured when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students who were protesting the Vietnam War and the military intrusion in Cambodia. A major protest was scheduled on May 4. Although initially peaceful, after a National Guard general told protesters to disperse, violence broke out.

Just days later, on May 15 early in the morning, two students at Jackson State University were shot and killed while 12 were injured by the police. These students had gathered to protest racism.

The first SUNY Plattsburgh memorial ceremony was held in 1971 The SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association organized the first memorial in 1971 to remember these acts of violence and to show their support of the students who lost their lives.

Voices, Protests ‘Matter’

“SUNY Plattsburgh is the only college in the country that we know of that holds an annual memorial for the deaths at Kent State and Jackson State,” said Bryan Hartman, vice president of student affairs. “We do so because it is a reminder that students' voices and protests matter. Students play an important role in the happenings of this and all college campuses. We should never allow students' voices to be eliminated from shared governance, which was the attempt at Kent State and Jackson State'"

"Two hundred students, led by student leaders, administrators, and prominent local clergy, held a ceremony at the base of the Macdonough Monument and then marched quietly down Cornelia Street to campus,” Kroll said. “The march kicked off a "Festival of Life" that was held the day following. This tree is a reminder not only of those people in Kent, Jackson, and Vietnam who were killed during this dark moment of American history; it is also a reminder of the crucial role that our students have assumed in the past, as they will in the future, in standing up to the indefensible.”

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Student Association at 518-564-3200 or [email protected]

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