HBCU Students Unite To Protest Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

ABS_Student ProtestStudents at historically Black colleges and universities are uniting in protest of the grand jury’s decision Monday night to not indict Darren Wilson.

A few hundred students went to a vigil held at the Martin Luther King International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta on the night of the announcement. Howard University students and students from other Washington, D.C., area schools gathered in front of the White House in protest of the decision, according to the International Business Times.

One large group of students from Morehouse walked 2.4 miles from the school in the West End neighborhood to the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta to protest the jury’s decision on Tuesday, according to The Athens Banner Herald. A peace rally on Clark Atlanta University’s campus also included students from Morehouse and Spelman College.

The decision shocked many of the students, including Spelman College’s president of student government Mary Pickard. Pickard told IBS that she was in disbelief after the decision was made.

“I put my trust in a system that I don’t feel like is protecting me and my community,” she told IBT. “We are filled with anger and rage, and finally I think, we are fed up.”

Pickard also said that the decision would be a catalyst for HBCU’s to collaborate and show that they are standing together.

“This is a time when we need to show that we’re not going to be passive and idle, to show that we stand in solidarity,” Pickard told IBT.

Students at Howard University used social media to show how many protesters they had in support for Michael Brown. A picture tweeted in August went viral as it showed a crowd of students with their hands raised in surrender. As of August 13, just four days after the shooting, the photo had 14,694 retweets.

Leighton Watson, president of Howard University’s student government association, knows that HBCU’s have already and still can be sources of change.

“We’ve seen that movements can originate from our campuses that can affect campuses across the nation,” he told IBT.

Pickard said that in talks with president’s at other HBCU’s, they have decided to take the stance that “If my brother is in jail, I’m in jail. If my brother is not free, I’m not free.”

The student leaders are exploring alternative options to making their message heard.

“The conventional methods of response are not going to be enough in this case,” Watson told IBT. “This doesn’t mean we need more extreme methods, just different ones.”

According to Watson, the proposal to boycott Black Friday received mixed feelings from activists at Howard because it may not deliver the correct message.

“We have to look at the funding streams for the institutions that are failing is and figure out how to hit these institutions where they hurt,” he told IBT.

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