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Lying Down to Stand up: Beyond Ferguson

It was a cloudy December day when scores of students gathered on the steps of American University’s Mary Graydon Center, clad in black, signs in hand. 

They carried banners that bore the words “Black Lives Matter,” the slogan of post-Ferguson protests. It had been little over a week since a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson on criminal charges in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. 

The event included a “die-in,” where students and other participants lay silently on the ground in solidarity with Mike Brown and other victims of police brutality. The “die-in” was AU’s response to Ferguson and to similar Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. Students mourned Mike Brown and other victims, but they still kept an eye toward the future as they attempted to heal the wounds of the past. 

“The plan is to not limit ourselves to demonstrating how black lives matter in this nation but also in the University,” said Chante Harris, a senior at AU and the event organizer. While the event was a direct response to the Ferguson verdict, Harris does not feel the movement stops there. 

She hopes the group can “hold the University accountable to meet the needs of minorities to ensure that they enjoy and have the resources they need during their undergraduate career.” 

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