Students bring Ferguson protests to campus



By Cheyene Miller

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The sound of the black national anthem rang out in the Student Center food court Wednesday at 12:32 p.m., as members of the UK Black Student Union and other UK students stood in protest of the situation in Ferguson, Mo.

“No justice, no peace,” shouted several dozen BSU members in unison during what they said is one of the busiest times of the week for the food court.

“Michael Brown is one of the many cases that highlights the injustice and institutional racism present in our society,” said BSU member Jamarl Bryant as he gave a short speech that followed the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“We live in a society where our black life doesn’t matter,” said Bryant in his speech.  “The killing of unarmed black people by American police is a human rights issue.”

Bryant, an integrated strategic communications, and merchandising, apparel and textiles senior who is also involved with the Martin Luther King Center, said that people of all walks of life should be concerned about this issue, and then invited students to come to a forum discussion at 5:30 in the Small Ballroom of the Student Center.

The organization then stood in a moment of silence for 4.5 minutes, which represented the 4.5 hours that Brown lay dead on the ground after being shot seven times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, according to Bryant.

BSU members also protested by holding up signs, which read “stop killing our men,” “we stand with the people of Ferguson” and “my life matters.”

BSU member and public health junior Christina Lucas said that they chose Wednesday to protest because it’s typically the busiest day on campus, and they chose 12:32 because people would be more likely to remember an oddly specific time.

Lucas said that it’s important that the Brown case is remembered, because it speaks to a bigger issue that has existed in American society for generations.

“It’s not (just) Michael Brown, it’s the whole social inequality,” said Lucas, who mentioned the media’s role in the case. “The media plays such a huge role in this and it skews it to make us angry and to protest.”

Bryant said that the violent nature of some of the protests in Ferguson does not represent the rest of the protests taking place.

“We know how to get our message across in a peaceful way but they don’t choose to highlight that,” Bryant said.

“I have to get on Tumblr to see the peaceful protests,” said Lucas, who noted that Browns stepfather Louis Head, who is currently under legal scrutiny for his alleged part in inciting the Ferguson riots, is not solely to blame for the violence.

“He has the freedom of speech,” said Lucas, who noted that Head was in an emotional state at the time and that protesters should have listened to Brown’s parents who were calling for peaceful protests.

Bryant said that his hope was that the protest would bring further awareness about the Brown case, to UK students.

“We just want to make sure that other races to know why this issue is of such importance to someone like me,” Bryant said.