Student organizations respond to events in Ferguson

MU organizations like the Legion of Black Collegians and Queer People of Color have been involved in MU4MikeBrown, an advocacy group created in response to the fatal shooting of the Ferguson teen.

Students in various organizations at MU took the initiative to come together and create the advocacy group, MU4MikeBrown, in response to the fatal shooting of the Ferguson teen Aug. 9.

The group, spawned from both the nationally promoted #HandsUpDontShoot social media campaign and discussions between MU organizations (such as the Legion of Black Collegians and Queer People of Color), has been educating students on the current events taking place in Ferguson, and on what they can do to be active in the widespread protest movement.

Thus far, MU4MikeBrown, with the help of LBC and QPOC, organized and held a silent march that took place Aug. 27 and continue to host town hall-style meetings using the hashtag #knowyourrights.

“These events are a collaborative effort from students who are tired of seeing senseless killings by police officers and vigilantes on black bodies,” LBC President LeChae Mottley said. “The MU4MikeBrown group was started by a great group of leaders on campus, and it brings the Mizzou community together for three common goals: awareness, action and prevention.”

The group leaders have made an effort to continuously post updates on social media outlets. They have also held a vigil in Speaker’s Circle as a part of the National Moment of Silence.

“With the march, we were trying to show a better, more peaceful way of protesting compared to what had been going on in Ferguson,” LBC activities co-chair Phelan Simpkins said.

MU4MikeBrown has gained a large part of its momentum through utilizing social media sites, and taking part in the #iftheygunnedmedown and #dontshoot Twitter discussions.

“Social media has been a huge tool for the initiative,” said Ashley Bland, QPOC communications director and MU4MikeBrown organizer. “We're all so plugged in, it's the most efficient way to reach our peers.”

Bland said the Brown case has been the catalyst that has caused “my community to start speaking out like we should have been long ago.”

The role of the campaign is to make sure the MU community is aware of the situation. It also gives students the opportunity to actively be a part of something bigger than campus, Bland said.

“People are so uncomfortable talking with race outside of their racial groups,” Bland said. “I think what’s going on is forcing people to speak to one another.”

MU4MikeBrown leaders said they are together on understanding the significance of MU students being active in the protesting, while also making the distinction between positive and negative protesting.

“It’s exposing America’s weaknesses and showing what we have to change as a country,” Simpkins said. “It just seems America has had enough with being devalued, with people being killed without any just cause.”

The Ferguson City Council said Monday it would launch a citizen review board, a provision highly requested by protesters since the shooting of Brown, to provide guidance for the Ferguson Police Department, according to the New York Times.

“The case is already important, and I hope that we continue to treat it as such,” Mottley said. “If we keep the conversation going, and act, then we can continue to work towards changing the system.”

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