SDSU protests Ferguson shooting decision

by Camille Lozano and Colleen Larson

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  • A protester's speech to the group is met with cheers and applause.

  • Males participating in the protest were invited to the center of the circle as the group chanted their support.

  • Participants were given the opportunity to speak during the protest and express their opinions.

Protesters dressed in black met in front of Hepner Hall at San Diego State today to express their disagreement with the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.

The grand jury decided to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American, in Ferguson, Mo.

A group of more than 30 protesters, including many African American students, stood in front of the SDSU sundial at 12 p.m. and held signs that read: “You are not alone” and “We want our black men in colleges, not coffins.” Other signs read, “Our lives matter, black, white, pink, green, or purple” and “Murder is crime from Ferguson to Palestine.” The protestors then began to form a moving circle, as bystanders gradually joined in the protest.

“The protest is to educate the San Diego State community about what is going on,” biology senior and Students for Justice in Palestine member Hassan Abdinur said. “The death of Mike Brown has become a personification of what is going on in the nation.”

Protesters chanted: “Justice for all” and “Black lives matter.”

Later, participants echoed, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and walked around a circle waving their signs or holding both hands up to symbolically represent surrender.

Approximately ten minutes into the protest, the organizers stopped the circle and asked for a moment of silence for Brown and other victims of police brutality. Bystanders stood looking on silently as they observed the bowed heads and joined hands of the protesters. Several joined into the circle.

Following the moment of silence, protestors once again walked around, stomping their feet in rhythm as they chanted. Protesters then voiced their opinions about the Brown case outcome.

Criminal justice senior JerMara Watkins addressed the crowd.

“This is bigger than Mike Brown,” Watkins said. “That could be my father, my brother … When are our lives going to matter? How am I supposed to bring a young black boy into this world if he could be murdered walking home from the store?”

Business and marketing junior Joseph Haywood said he was glad the protest brought together so many different ethnicities and types of people.

“This is unity, and it shouldn’t take someone being killed for us to come together, but we should make a difference,” Haywood said to the protesters surrounding him.

Vice president of SDSU’s Afrikan Student Union Terri Wright said she cried last night when she heard the decision.

“I feel like it’s a constant reminder that we’re black in America,” Wright said. “We’re just fed up. But I hope everyone knows that we can raise awareness with peace, and that we are fighting for justice for everybody.”

By the end of the protest, more than 70 had joined the circle, chanting: “Protect and serve, that’s a lie, they don’t care when black kids die.”

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