The Cal State Fullerton College Republicans club displayed ribbons and a police car on Titan Walk on Tuesday as part of a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, but not all students who walked by felt such gratitude.
Members of Students for Quality Education were present to express opposition, distributing informational handouts reading “Why Blue Lives Matter is Problematic” to those who walked by.
They declined to comment.
The handout featured statistics and information decrying the pro-law enforcement Blue Lives Matter movement as a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black Lives Matter is a political and social movement that derived from the numerous deaths of African-Americans as a result of police brutality. The movement calls to end unnecessary violence and racism, according to its website.
It became nationally recognized after a black, unarmed teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.
Blue Lives Matter is a media company that argues officers on duty have become victimized, and that their actions are justified as a part of their dangerous job, according to its website.
“They’ve paid the ultimate price by giving up their lives to keep Americans safe, and to keep our communities safe,” said graduate student Hansol Suh, who coordinated the event.
Cpl. Tom Perez of the University Police Department said the collaboration with the College Republicans goes beyond positioning on the political scale.
“We’re trying to show the human aspect of everything. Whatever political views you have, that’s great. We’re all a melting pot of political views here. We appreciate that. We’re not trying to steer anybody in different directions,” Perez said.
He also noted that the University Police Department is willing to work and collaborate with anybody who wants to reach out to them.
Beyond the thanking and recognition, the tension that filled Titan Walk did not go unnoticed by Perez.
“We also have people that don’t appreciate us. They’re walking by, making comments and that’s fine too. We just want to open up a dialogue with people and just hear both sides,” Perez said.
The tension between the College Republicans and SQE has been present for the past few years.
In October, SQE held a Unity Block Party event in opposition to the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos, who was invited by the College Republicans.
College Republicans club president Amanda McGuire said she was disappointed in the fact that the event became more than a memorial.
“I think it’s a shame that now it’s become a little bit politicized. I understand there’s two sides to every story, but it’s really important to make sure that we’re honoring those who are selflessly serving the community,” Mcguire said.
Students who walked by and participated in the event also chimed in.
Edward Orellana, a second year communications major, thought the event was a good gesture for those who served.
“Being Republican or Democrat doesn’t matter. These guys are protecting people no matter who they are,” Orellana said.