Students from Coast to Coast Protest Grand Jury Decision to Let Mike Brown's Killer Go Free

Updated November 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Students held protests on campuses and participated in demonstrations all over the country. Most of the actions were organized on social media, many by Black student groups. The following are reports of some of the campus protests taken from news sources. urges people to send more reports to


Photo: Revolution/

University of Washington, Seattle. In a fast-paced, defiant and energetic protest called by the Black Student Union in downtown Seattle, November 25, 100 students and other youth blocked intersections throughout downtown and the Capital Hill district for many hours.


University of California, Los Angeles. Hundreds of students took part in a demonstration outside Royce Hall on Tuesday. Dozens laid on the ground while others chalk marked around them. One UCLA senior said, "This could be me today, later today, this could be my little cousin, this could be my little brother, this could be my nephew."

Morehouse students, at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, led a protest of the Grand Jury decision (AP Photo).

Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A few hundred students went to a vigil held at the Martin Luther King International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta on the night of the announcement. Howard University students and students from other Washington, DC area schools marched to the White House in protest of the decision, according to the International Business Times. One large group of students from Morehouse walked 2.4 miles from their school in the West End neighborhood to the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta to protest the jury's decision on Tuesday, according to the Athens Banner Herald. A peace rally on Clark Atlanta University's campus also included students from Morehouse and Spelman College. "I put my trust in a system that I don't feel like is protecting me and my community," a student told IBT. "We are filled with anger and rage, and finally I think, we are fed up." Leighton Watson, president of Howard University's student government association, said, "We've seen that movements can originate from our campuses that can affect campuses across the nation." He said they decided to take the stance that "If my brother is in jail, I'm in jail. If my brother is not free, I'm not free."

Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant. "If you are not mad today, you are not paying attention," said Portia Brown, a junior and one of the organizers of a protest of more than 120 students on Tuesday. Protesters chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot," Black lives matter," "Indict, convict, send that killer cop to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell."

University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Students held a protest Tuesday morning. Four students created a Facebook event, "Ferguson: No Indictment," calling on students to wear all black and meet up in Hahn Plaza. During the protest, students laid down on the ground to show how unjust it was to leave Mike Brown's body on the sidewalk for over four hours after he was killed.

University of California, Davis. On November 26, hundreds of UC Davis students and community members gathered at the Memorial Union Coffee House to object to the grand jury's verdict and support the protestors in Ferguson.

Morgan State, Baltimore. Students at Morgan State University in Maryland gathered Tuesday in protest of the grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.


Ohio State University, Columbus. More than 150 students gathered in the student union for a vigil.

Ohio State University, Athens. About 100 students gathered at Baker University Center Monday night. Shortly before midnight, students rose from the circle they had been sitting in for more than two hours as they discussed whether to leave or go. "No! I'm not leaving," yelled student Jolana Watson. "That is the history of Ohio University!" Jacob Chaffin, a student with a megaphone said, as he noted OU's history with rebellions in the 1970s.

Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. Students protest the Grand Jury decision and one states "this is an issue that hits home regardless of if you know these people of not... it is something that hurts all of us... just know that this is not the end".

Columbia University, New York City. Monday night, 200 people held a two-hour rally in the middle of the Columbia University campus—chanting, sharing their stories.

Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. Hundreds of students and residents of nearby neighborhoods protested Monday night. Local CBS News 6 reported that members of the VCU student poetry organization Slam Nahuatl organized the protest using social media after hearing about the grand jury's decision. Protesters began the march at the VCU Student Media Center then went to West Broad Street, then to the Richmond Police Department.

Madison, Wisconsin. About 250 people—students from the University of Wisconsin and residents—demonstrated on Tuesday. Protesters went to Capitol Square chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Black lives matter." After a rally, protesters went to the Madison City Hall and sat in on a Dane County Public Protection and Judiciary Committee meeting—protesting a new county jail. One protester told the committee: "If you build this jail then you are supporting a new Jim Crow."

University of California, San Diego. Several dozen students lined up across a La Jolla stretch of Interstate 5 from about 6:50 am to 7:20 am during rush hour, causing a miles-long backup of traffic. News reports said the action was organized by the Black Student Union at UCSD.

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts. Protesters and others packed City Hall to testify about police brutality, racial profiling and unequal treatment. A group of more than 125 mostly Clark University students marched from the campus to Main Street, stopping along the way, sitting down in the road each time and blocking traffic in all directions. The majority of students at Clark University are white; African-Americans make up only 4 percent of the student body. People also carried signs in memory of other minorities who have been killed by police in Worcester, including the name of Victor Davila, an unarmed Hispanic man who was shot by a rookie state police officer inside a stolen car in 2012.


Tulane University, New Orleans. In response to the Grandy Jury verdict in Ferguson, Tulane students in Louisiana take to the streets and protest with chants of "We are Mike Brown".


Indiana University, Bloomington. About 50 law students demonstrated on campus Tuesday.

University of Rhode Island. Students from campus multicultural organizations protested in front of the student union, with more than 100 young men and women either lying or sitting on the ground, blocking a cordoned-off segment of Lower College Road on Tuesday. They also blocked Interstate 95, a highway that connects Providence to Boston and New Haven.

University of Texas, Austin. The Black Student Alliance organized a protest on campus on Tuesday.

University of Maryland. On Monday, about 50 students marched around campus. On Tuesday, a student climbed onto a table in the middle of the cafeteria in Stamp Student Union and then led more than 100 student protesters who locked arms and formed a human wall around the cafeteria in four-and-a-half minutes of silence to honor Michael Brown. Students then had a sit-in where they gave speeches, led chants, and refused to buy food from the nine restaurants in the cafeteria. One student read stories of other Black men killed by the police—with the crowd shouting out the person's name each time. They are holding a sit-in at Stamp until the university gets rid of an armored transport vehicle and high-powered weapons it got from the Defense Department.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 200 students held a protest on Tuesday in The Pit, a gathering place outside the student union. Another 150 students and others attended a candlelight vigil at Peace and Justice Plaza. One first-year student at UNC reported that students spoke about what it meant to be a Black student at UNC and in America and said, "The decision just made me feel like I was next."

Kent State, Akron, Ohio. 200 students marched along Terrace Drive to Oscar Ritchie Hall, led by Marvin Logan, undergraduate student government executive director. Protestors marched across campus and spray painted the rock near Main Street black. Many students chanted, "I am Mike Brown... I am every Black life that has been lost at the hands of the police."

Southeast Missouri State University. About 50 students began a protest in front of the Kent Library in the center of campus chanting Mike Brown's name and "Hands up! Don't shoot!"

Rutgers University, New Jersey. More than 450 students marched through campus in a protest organized by the People's Coalition Against Police Brutality, a coalition of students and New Brunswick residents. Speakers recounted stories of other cases of police brutality and murder including the police killing of New Brunswick resident Carolyn Adams in 1996.

Penn State University. About 50 students gathered on campus and marched to city hall for a citywide protest. Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation organized stations around campus to paint red handprints on the faces of those who wanted to show solidarity with protests around the country. The handprints were meant to symbolize that the jury's decision was a "slap in the face," organizers said.

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Students and others gathered to protest. Some wore duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing the voice Brown can no longer use. Organizers urged students to wear black to signify unity.

Middle Tennessee State University. About 300 students rallied in front of the Student Union Building on Tuesday.

Loyola University, New Orleans. More than 100 students marched on campus Monday night starting at 10 pm. People marched across the campus and then to Tulane University, where they went into the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library with their hands held up, climbed to the fourth story and silently circled the floor, keeping their hands high. Protesters then went to McAlister Drive where they drew chalk outlines of each other's bodies to represent Michael Brown. The protest ended at 2:30 am.

Princeton University, New Jersey. Over 300 students marched along Prospect Avenue starting at midnight Tuesday morning, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot," "No justice, no peace" and "Black lives matter," in what is being reported as probably the largest public protest at the university in recent years. One student, Xavier Bledsoe, told the crowd, "My heart is heavy, my heart is burning with anger. Nonetheless, we are not broken, but we are not satisfied. How many people have been the victims of institutionalized racism... We are Princetonians. We need to use our privilege to make the world a better place. We have that power. So use it."

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Hundreds of students participated in a march downtown, starting from City Hall on Monday night. One senior, Kyle Webster, the president of Onyx Senior Honor Society, said, "I wanted to believe in America... This is once again an affirmation about the value of marginalized communities in America," that they do not matter.

Arizona State University, Tempe. Tuesday, the Black African Coalition and the African American Men of ASU organized a protest to respond to the grand jury decision.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. A vigil was held at LSU's Greek Amphitheater Tuesday night attended by 200 people. One of the organizers read from a list of 61 names of unarmed Black people who were killed in confrontation with police. At one point someone from the crowd yelled, "That was my friend!" He was referring to Victor White III—the coroner had ruled that this 22-year-old had shot himself in the chest while handcuffed in the back of a police squad car.

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Students started their protest of the grand jury decision by standing silently with signs like, "We are Michael Brown" and then chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot." About 50 people fell to the ground in the student union. Students also held signs that read "We are Dontre Hamilton," a Black man killed by a white officer in Milwaukee in April.


Students react to Darren Wilson describing Michael Brown as a "demon"

In his testimony to the grand jury, Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Mike Brown, described Michael Brown as "Hulk Hogan" and a "demon." On U.S. college campuses and on Twitter, many students were stunned and outraged by the grand jury decision and also reacted to the blatantly racist way Wilson talked about Mike Brown.

Many Twitter users posted their response under hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter for example:

Lizz Brown @lizzzbrown

Reading #DarrenWilson 's GJ transcript..surreal....Like I am reading the original script of #BirthOfANation #Demon #scaryblackmen #Ferguson

11:26 AM - 25 Nov 2014

Sheryl Kaye @SherylKaye_

#DarrenWilson did not see #MikeBrown as human. Someone should say that. #demon #it

Angela. D. B. K @DidiAngela

#hulkhogan #Demon anything other than #Human that's what they see #DarrenWilson #Ferguson #FergusonDecision #mikebrownverdict #Sad

11:50 AM - 25 Nov 2014

After reading Wilson's testimony, Lamar Richardson, a senior at Columbia University who studies psychology and sociology, said he felt disgust and disbelief: "To dehumanize him, to equate him to a demon, it reflects the large-scale notion of the state of Black people in America." Richardson said Wilson's statement read like "a fabricated web of lies."

[Source: Christian Science Monitor, "On college campuses, students stunned by 'demon' description of Michael Brown (+video)" 11-25-14]


From To Kill a Mockingbird

At a vigil at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, a student, Megan Gilliam read part of a passage from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, in which a Black man represented in court by Atticus Finch is falsely convicted of raping a white woman.

The passage reads:

"Atticus," said Jem bleakly.

He turned in the doorway. "What, son?"

"How could they do it, how could they?"

"I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep.

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