University of Rhode Island students silently laid on Lower College Road to protest the grand jury’s lack of indictment for Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Last night at 11:30 p.m., student organization leaders and other students gathered on the Quadrangle for four and a half minutes of silence as a symbol for the four and a half hours police left unarmed Brown on the ground after he was killed. They stayed out for several hours and initiated a discourse on what the jury’s decision means for the country.
Brandy Jones, a member of the Multicultural Unity Student Involvement Committee (MUSIC) said there were about 100 people on the quad last night.
“A lot of personal stories [were shared], their own experiences being victimized by the police, how they were feeling about the incident and what we should do,” said Emily Teixeira, a member of Powerful, Independent, Notoriously, Knowledgeable (PINK) Women.
Solution-based conversations led to today’s organized protest in front of the Memorial Union. The pavement had bodied outlines for students to lie on. Jones said that about 100 people have participated in and out of the protest. The road was blocked off from 11 a.m., and the protest will continue till 3:30 p.m., also as a symbol of the four and a half hours Brown was left on the ground.
“We got here today, and the student leaders involved are either laying in solidarity, or just making sure that everything is ok around them,” said Raquel Mendez, chapter president of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority Inc.
Student leaders passed out flyers with a photo of Brown, which stated, “Today we lay here to represent all those who lost their lives to police brutality. We stand in solidarity with Ferguson. We are here for Mike Brown”.
The protest garnered coverage from Channel 12 Eyewitness News WPRI and sparked curiosity of passers-by.
“A good Samaritan decided he was going to pay for our food, teachers wanted to buy us stuff, and Mary Jo Gonzales [Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students] is providing drinks,” said Brandy Jones, a member of Multicultural Unity Student Involvement Committee.
The sidewalk in front of the Union was decorated with chalk writings reading “Peace today, Peace Forever”, “Trayvon Martin” and “Black lives matter”.
AÂ campus walk is in the student leader’s plans and more protests like this one will continue into next week.