Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana campus reacts to Ferguson decision

As citizens react to the ruling in favor of Darren Wilson, Paul Croll, associate professor of Sociology, said the protests happening across the country show how citizens do not want to live in a country where certain lives are valued more than others.
“The systematic targeting, discrimination and harassment of young black men in our society must stop,” said Croll. “The killing of Michael Brown must be understood in a larger context; it is not an isolated incident. The protests show the anger and rage that concerned citizens feel right now.”
After more than three months of investigating, violence, and a demand for justice, a grand jury released its final decision last night shortly after 8:30 p.m. in the fate of 28-year-old Darren Wilson who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed, African-American. The St. Louis county prosecutor announced last night that the jury was made up of nine white people and three black people.
“At the end of the day, (Wilson) is not going to be indicted, but we have to move forward as a community and try to ensure this does not happen in our futures,” said Cindy Morales, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Student Life.
While some protests were peaceful, others included violent riots, NBC News reports. Cars were lit on fire and protestors began marching on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Il.
“This is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America,” said President Barack Obama in a statement last night. “There are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making this up.”
The New York Times reported that residents and business owners “sat in fear last night, boarding up their homes and securing their properties in anticipation of the officer not being indicted, and riots resurfacing.”
The National Guard is working to protect more than 40 buildings in the Ferguson area, and the Ferguson School District canceled classes at its schools on Tuesday in anticipation of the protests.
Wilson told the courts during a four-hour testimony that he felt his life was in danger during the time of the incident on Aug. 9. Defense teams argued Brown was unarmed and with that sole fact, the officer should not have taken the action of fatally shooting the teenager.
Selena Gonzalez, president of Latinos Unidos, said she would like to see the focus taken off the race and see the Augustana community focus more on morals and justice.
“The riots show fault on both ends: why harm and terrorize innocent people?” said Gonzalez. “People should focus less on the fact that it was between a black man and a white man and focus more on the fact that a young, unarmed teenager was shot brutally.”
Rev. Al Sharpton said he hopes for an end to the protests, suggesting that they will solve nothing because they are lead with violence.
“Michael Brown will not be remembered for the ashes from buildings burned in Ferguson,” said Sharpton during a press conference Nov.25. “He will be remembered for new legislation and the upholding of law.”
The Augustana community is planning to gather and reflect on the matter Dec. 1., Campus ministries is joining forces with Interfaith Understanding, Multicultural Student Life and Black Student Union during a prayer vigil. The event will allow opportunity for the Rock Island community to light candles, and join each other in prayer, justice, and healing according to an email sent to students and faculty on Friday, Nov.26.
“Whenever any group of people comes together to own up to their own complicity with white privilege and to pray and act together on behalf of justice, this seemingly isolated act has healing repercussions across the globe.” said campus pastor Richard Priggie. ”  At Augustana we cannot erase what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri, but we can take what has happened as an impetus for us to work for greater justice on campus and in our communities.  In this way Michael Brown will not have died in vain.”

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Augustana campus reacts to Ferguson decision