OSU student encampment

Photo by Taylor Dorrell

I’ve watched the developing protests around our nation, here in Columbus,
with a feeling that some things just haven't changed.

Fifty-four years ago I’d gotten off work, was at the Neil Avenue entrance to OSU,
watching a small, peaceful, student protest develop. Someone for a Black
Student Union had just called for Black Studies to be part of basic education at OSU, and a
young student started saying something about Vietnam. A fearsome looking line
of troopers in riot gear were just off the campus line.

Suddenly, a cartoonish looking guy with an obvious Woolworth’s wig
stepped from behind the police line, and closed the street gate to the campus.
A young student with a crude armband quickly reopened it.

This was repeated 3-4 times, when the police line surged forward, using
their batons on protestors. That got the expected reaction, bottle/rock, they
were quickly reinforced, escalated and began grabbing, arresting protesters.

That was the start of the so-called “student riots!” Peaceful protests had
been going on there for weeks. Within a few days, similar actions cost four young
lives at Kent State, others were lost at Jackson State in Mississippi.

A few years later, when I went to work at Lorain Steel Works, I worked with
an older man, Bill Schroeder, who generally kept to himself. When mill ownership
attempted to dump their “pension liability,” leaving retirees in poverty, five of our
workers took their own lives.

The first of those suicides was Jay Schoeder, brother of William Schroeder, Jr,
the young man killed by guardsman in the famous picture at Kent State, a young
women kneeling over him screaming! I never could understand how Bill, Sr.
could get up, come to work every-day!

Young people, as well as old people, won our precious right to speak up
when we see injustice. How many lives must be sacrificed before those in power
to finally hear us when we scream “STOP the Wars for Greed!”