'We are not finished': Students march to City Hall after Brown decision
Another event hosted by MU4MikeBrown will be held at noon on Dec. 2 at the Student Center.
Nov. 24, 2014
Cries of “hands up, don’t shoot!” and “no justice! No peace! No racist police!” rang across Francis Quadrangle on Monday evening.
The chants came from marchers after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, in Ferguson, Missouri in August.
MU4MikeBrown and various students and residents of Columbia met in Speakers Circle around 8 p.m. before the decision had been announced.
“As times continue on, there’s definitely more problems that are arising,” senior Christina Lynchard said. “People need to understand that racism is not at all dead, it’s just been buried.”
The problem is not just about this case, Missouri’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Mary Ratliff said.
“The United States has a very poor record as far as prosecuting police officers for killing African-American folks,” Ratliff said before the decision had been announced. “We will be viewed nationally for what we do here.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs said she agreed a spotlight has been placed on Missouri as a result of this case.
“(It) certainly made the nation interested in what’s going on in Missouri, which has been interesting for all of us living here,” Scroggs said. “I just think it makes us more aware of issues like this and how they are much more far-reaching than just a local community and, in fact, an entire state and an entire country.”
A few, including Lynchard, brought signs to Speakers Circle. Students huddled in the cold around a phone, watching a livestream and waiting for the announcement.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., when the announcement came, a few of the students began to cry.
“I think this should have been taken to trial,” Lynchard said. “The decision to indict should have been plain and simple, cut and dry. A boy was murdered, he was unarmed and he was 150 feet away from the officer at the time of death. He posed no threat to the officer at that point. It’s just really sad that in 2014, this is where we are.”
The assembled students held hands in a circle and had a moment of silence for Mike Brown and his family. After the moment ended, they marched from Speakers Circle to City Hall, with the group chanting the whole way.
At City Hall, chants continued with members of the group coming forward and saying what the decision meant to them.
“We are not finished by any means,” one of the demonstrators said in a speech. “Don’t let anybody check you, don’t let anyone check you on this campus in your personal conversations, don’t let anyone invalidate what you’re feeling right now because it is so real. We don’t have justice, but how we feel is justified.”
One demonstrator, Moberly Area Community College sophomore Aaminah Muhammad, is from St. Louis.
“I am not surprised and I never expected him to be indicted,” Muhammad said. “This system is not corrupt because this is what the system was built to be. It’s not like it’s changed into something bad, it was always bad.”
Police brutality will continue, Muhammad said.
“We know it’s coming, we know it’s happening now, we got to get ready,” Muhammad said. “We can’t stop fighting.”
MU4MikeBrown will hold another event at noon on Dec. 2 in the Student Center.