Campus responds to Ferguson

Madeline Diamond and Gillian Feehan, News Editor and Campus Life Editor

In response to the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted in the death of Michael Brown, the University community came together to discuss both the pain they felt and their frustration with the justice system. The campus community united through demonstrations and observations of moments of silence. Moving forward, students are planning more events to discuss Ferguson and inspire political and social change.

A small group of students who watched the verdict announcement discussed their feelings regarding the matter and decided to incite action on campus.

“When we watched the verdict and heard the news, we were filled with immense frustration and anger at the justice system. It was a time of unbelievable pain for anyone who is a person of color. We also began to feel so much frustration at the fact that America tries to retroactively criminalize black bodies,” Mohammed Elnaiem ’16 said.

These students decided to plan a forum on the quad to discuss the grand jury’s decision. Although the forum occurred less than 24 hours after the indictment announcement was made, students were able to organize and congregate for a meaningful discussion about Ferguson and race issues in the United States as well as on campus. Students came to the forum with posters that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Don’t Shoot.” During the discussion, students and professors shared their personal experiences, expressed their anger and disappointment, and read poetry.

“We knew that the rest of the country had already planned for protests, so we called for an open discussion. It was an emotional event; people shared their personal stories and poems,” Elnaiem said.

Students and faculty also joined together in the National Week of Action in Solidarity with the People of Ferguson, St. Louis, and Beyond, created by several organizations, including the Peace and Justice Studies Association and Center for Education Equity, and brought to the University by Visiting Assistant Professor of Education David Ragland. By participating in this call to action, members of the University community observed four and a half minutes of silence in classrooms and outside the Elaine Langone Center to represent the four and a half hours that Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed.

The National Week of Action in Solidarity also encourages students and faculty to conduct human rights teach-ins, organize dialogues on race, and organize vigils, reflections and prayers, according to Ragland.

Ragland also participated in a Q&A about Ferguson as part of the University’s “Bucknell Answers” series on its website. He addressed both the political and social effects of Brown’s death and the grand jury’s decision.

On Dec. 5, an event called Chalk Art on Seventh Street for Justice and Peace will be held on Seventh Street between Trax Hall and Market Street. Members of the community are encouraged to come show their support for justice and peace through chalk art. This event is being held in solidarity with the Ferguson protests.

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