Student solidarity

Kaitlin Mahar

Students Show Support and Stand in Solidarity for Ferguson during a peaceful protest in the Maxcy Quad on Dec. 1. 

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” These were the cries that refrained through Maxcy Quad as student protestors congregated to partake in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case Monday, Dec. 1.

Students partaking in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case   (Photo by Kaitlin Mahar/Charger Bulletin photo)
Students partaking in a nationwide protest against the ruling of the Darren Wilson case
(Photo by Kaitlin Mahar/Charger Bulletin photo)

On Monday, Nov. 24, Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 17, in Ferguson, Mo. The grand jury’s failure to find probable cause that a criminal act occurred on Aug. 9, 2014, the day Brown was shot, immediately sparked protests and demonstrations all over the world.

Brown’s family released a statement the next day, Tuesday, Nov. 25, addressing the protestors: “We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.”

Inspired by the Brown’s press release, Scott X. Esdaile, the President of the Connecticut NAACP, advocated for peaceful protests in Brown’s honor, and University of New Haven students, led by senior Ronald Pierce, UNH’s NAACP president, took part in the national protest.

“I got information today about a campus walkout for you to lead your class out at 1:01 p.m., the time Mike Brown was killed, to show solidarity and protest and show that this was not okay,” said Pierce, 21. “I didn’t initially know about it—I just heard and quickly got something together.”

Despite the short notice, Pierce’s protest had over thirty participants, who met in the middle of Maxcy Quad with their hands up, as Pierce simultaneously fielded questions from the media and led the protest. While the participants’ specific reasons for protesting differed, they all could agree on one thing: Mike Brown would not be forgotten.

“We, the vocal underprivileged group, wanted to ban together in order to promote justice for all lives affected by gun violence and police brutality,” said senior Antoinette Gardner.

Social media played a big role in the protest too, as protestors got the word out about the demonstration through Facebook, Twitter, and email, and many wanted to combat the online negativity encircling the Ferguson controversy.

“When you see all the ignorant comments posted on social media, it genuinely makes me proud to stand out here and fight for what I believe,” said Es-pranza Humphrey, Assistant Secretary of UNH’s NAACP.

Tyjee Williams, Vice President of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, agreed. “Everyday, you see different videos on social media about police doing their jobs wrong. It upsets everyone that nothing is being done about this subject,” Williams said. “There will not be any peace until something is done.”

While some student protestors, such as Bridget Koestner, a junior, did not have a direct connection to the protest through their respective clubs and organizations, many came out just to show their support.

“I’m here as an ally,” said Koestner, 20. “I think that our generation needs to be the change, and I’m here to be a part of that.”

For more information or to show your support, feel free to follow the trending topic #HandsUpDontShoot on social media.