Chants of activism echoed in front of Waterfield Library yesterday as demonstrators gathered to protest the shooting of Michael Brown.
Brown, 18 years old, was fatally shot Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, protests have sparked across the country.
With their hands in the air shouting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”, “no justice, no peace!” and “we stand with Ferguson,” students quickly gathered as the voices of protestors were heard throughout campus.
JJ Adams, graduate student from Murray, said she took part in the protest to honor those who have died at the hands of police brutality.
“I believe that no matter who has died in the hands of this police brutality, whether this child was African-American, white, Hispanic or any other race, it doesn’t matter; somebody’s dead as a result and that makes me sad and I want to stand against it.”
Adams said she believes the demonstration will have an impact on the Murray community and more people will want to fight for what they believe is right.
Joshua Adair, assistant professor of Humanities and Fine Arts, was one of the demonstrators in charge of putting the protest together.
He said the decision to organize a peaceful protest was made as a group by a number of faculty members who want to raise awareness regarding issues of racism, racial inequality, gun violence and police militarization.
“We strongly believe that civic engagement and making one’s voice heard is an important part of being a responsible, active citizen,” he said. “We also believe that University students need to learn about engaging in this process and taking responsibility for working to find solutions.”
Dyamond Ross, freshman from St. Louis said she thinks the protest was needed at Murray State.
“With our school being predominantly white, I think the protest was needed on our campus,” she said. “I think all the protests nationwide are having an impact. It’s about coming together and the more people that do that, the more people see that they should care, too. “
President Bob Davies and Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, talked to demonstrators at the protest.
Davies said the protest shows that Murray State students have a civic mind.
“Our students have the right to show their opinions; it’s part of being an educated citizen,” he said. “This is what higher education is all about.”
Jessica Brown, senior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., said she took part in the protest to show that students on campus care about these issues.
“I feel it is extremely important that we make aware that the people in this country are oppressed,” she said. “All I keep hearing is that students on this campus don’t care, but I want to show students do care. We need to band together and make change. I’m so tired of people being angry about things and just talking about it or posting on Facebook and then doing absolutely nothing. The more we do, the better things can be.”
Adair said he believes it is incredibly important for students to engage with the world around them and figure out what they feel passionate about.
“What’s happening in Ferguson isn’t just happening in Ferguson,” he said. “When the rights and freedoms of even on person are violated in this country, it can and does affect us all. Many of the issues we are gathering to highlight affect communities throughout this country. A quick scan of the news any day will reveal that reality.
“Our University community needs to start thinking about how to get involved and hopefully make changes to alter that.”
Story by Rebecca Walter, News Editor