Students Rally for Ferguson on Campus


Brent Uberty

(Photo by Brent Uberty)

(Photo by Brent Uberty)
(Photo by Brent Uberty)

More than 60 students hosted a Ferguson protest in front of the Marriott Library on Monday.
The event was in response to other rallies held nationwide over the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo.
The U’s protest began with sign making. Some posters had the names of people killed by police officers in Utah and elsewhere in the United States. Others used slogans from similar national protests, such as “Hands up, don’t shoot.” One sign read “F**k the police” with the letters “u” and “c” replaced with two red handprints.
Morgan Stinson, a senior in chemistry and gender studies, organized the protest Sunday night. Stinson couldn’t find any protests at the U coinciding with the national event, so she decided to change that.
“We’re standing in solidarity with Ferguson,” she said. “It’s a deeply problematic and systemic issue. And being a part of the Pac-12, we have an obligation to draw attention to it.”
After a brief moment of silence to commemorate Brown’s death, protesters faced one another in a circle, shouting call-and-response chants, such as “No Justice. No Peace.” About half of the protesters marched from the Marriott Library to Presidents Circle and back, with some going inside the library itself.
Jenna Matsumura, a senior in environmental and sustainability studies, heard about the protest on social media. But Matsumura is not new to the movement itself.
“This is just our lives,” Matsumura said. “The reality is [we live in] a racist system, and to be unaware is to already be dead.”
Roger Quinonez, a senior in mathematics teaching and geoscience, wished the protest included more diverse communities in the organizing process and in the protest itself.
“Creating a place for people of color — it takes more time, it’s harder,” Quinonez said. “Planning needs to come from the community.”
Kristobal Batty-Reyes, a junior in ethnic studies, commented on the event’s Facebook page with similar sentiments.
“If we aren’t careful our voices can cover up that of the communities directly affected,” he wrote. “I know it’s tempting to do something in order to feel like we are being involved in the process, but sometimes taking the proper time to organize and reach out to others [and] support those who are affected cannot only be more effective, but [is] what should be the intent of protest.”
The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” walkout is one of many protests surrounding the death of Brown. A similar protest over the shooting was planned by U students for Aug. 25, 2014 — what would have been Brown’s first day of college — but it dissolved due to low turnout.
A discussion of the Ferguson issue will be held at the Peterson Heritage Center called “#DarkLivesMatter: Police Brutality Against Men of Color” on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.
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