UI students march to protest recent Ferguson events

Protestors march for the Ferguson Peaceful Protest.

By Eric Fries

Hundreds of students took to the streets Tuesday evening to show support for African-Americans on campus and protest the recent events that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri. The peaceful march was organized by the Central Black Student Union, which advocates for minorities around campus.

After assembling at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, the long column of demonstrators marched down Gregory Drive, holding signs and chanting “Black lives matter.”

“With the whole Mike Brown situation that’s been going down in Ferguson, I personally feel that justice was not served,” said Michael Idemudia, junior in AHS and member of the Central Black Student Union. ”We feel that something needs to be done because what happened to Mike Brown could have happened to anybody.” 

The throng of protestors, while predominately black, included students from various ethnic backgrounds. Crowds gathered on sidewalks to observe and listen to the group. 

“The whole Ferguson case is a very big deal because this is something that not just affected the Ferguson community, but there are a lot of African-American communities across the country who dealt with cases like this,” said Olabode Oladeinde, senior in AHS and president of the Central Black Student Union. “Police brutality is just something that we need to raise awareness about, because we feel like it’s been going on for way too long.” 

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Participants expressed dissatisfaction with the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. 

“I feel like (the grand jury decision) was wrong, because regardless of race, the cop wasn’t right or justified in his killing,” said Dy’Min Davis, a freshman in LAS. 

Oladeinde said he thought the case should definitely have been taken to trial. 

“I felt like there were a lot of holes in the decision, and a lot of things weren’t considered, like the fact that when a suspect may be fleeing there’s such thing as a kill shot and a stun shot,” Oladeinde said. 

Tuesday’s protest was peaceful and very little hostility was expressed by demonstrators or onlookers. Police blocked off intersections to ensure safety and a police vehicle followed the group as an escort.

The protestors received support from some observers, who cheered them on as they passed. On Green Street, a group of people yelled encouragement from a second-story window.

Demonstrators felt that the peaceful nature of the protests was important. Instead of violent tactics like looting, which has occurred in Ferguson, Davis said if people aim to have a positive impact and stand together, things will get better.

Idemudia felt similarly about the actions taken by protestors in Ferguson. 

“I support the protests because I know that most of them were peaceful. However, the riots I don’t support, I don’t feel like anyone supports them,” Idemudia said. “I feel like people who partook in the riots were doing it for themselves rather than for the cause.”

Eric can be reached at [email protected].