On the night of Nov. 24, the country appeared to go up in flames as angry Americans reacted to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ofc. Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri.
Since the decision was announced, every facet of the case has been discussed, but regardless of what conclusions were reached – and how many – the fact remains that American youths are dissatisfied with the verdict and with race relations in general in the U.S.
Protests affected cities around the nation, including Philadelphia, where a major protest attracted about 500 people on Nov. 26. The protesters marched around the city, arriving at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue at about 4 p.m. Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” and “hands up, don’t shoot,” in reference to the allegation that Brown attempted to surrender to Wilson as he was killed.
Many protesters in both Ferguson and Philadelphia cited police brutality and institutionalized racism as reasons for marching, in addition to mourning Brown.
On a college campus, especially at a college as liberal as Temple, it’s important for students to be able to exercise their right to assemble. While diplomatic discussions or service work can be productive and less disruptive ways to get a point across, sometimes the disruption is necessary – especially with cases like racism in the United States, which has existed for as long as the country itself.
Recall instances like the Boston Tea Party. When calm discussion didn’t work, Americans took to a large-scale, radical demonstration to achieve their goals – and the country’s history was forever altered.
Students have the right to control the goings-on in their country by participating in protests – so long as they don’t endanger themselves or others.
There should be no shortage of protests in Philadelphia in the aftermath of Michael Brown, and for good reason. Students should be encouraged to responsibly participate.