Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
No more than 12 hours after the decision was announced in Ferguson, Missouri to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a large crowd of student and faculty members gathered outside of Thompson Hall at the University of New Hampshire in protest.
“It was kind of really last minute,” said Robert Richard-Snipes, a junior political science major and president of the University of New Hampshire’s Diversity Coalition. “(But the turnout) was a lot better than I expected.”
Richard-Snipes helped to organize the event, along with members of UNH VOX (Voices of Planned Parenthood), an organization that, “seeks to educate, empower, activate, and unite the voices within our community regarding contemporary feminist issues, including but not limited to; reproductive justice, sexual freedom, gender equality, and body image.” An e-mail was sent out with the details of the event, along with Facebook posts about the protest on VOX’s page.
The protest, which was suppose to begin at 12:30 p.m., was delayed about 10 minutes as the group continued to gather on the chilly, autumn day. Circling around the flagpole, many held signs.
“Hands up means: Don’t Shoot,” one read. “No Justice, No Peace” and “UNH Stands With Ferguson” read others.
A few opening words from Richard-Snipes explained the purpose and the intent behind the protest:
“This event has created further division and divides among lines that seem to have been perpetuated throughout our society,” Richards-Snipes said, addressing the group of students and community members. “But let us look now, once again, to continue to strive for the same equality that the brave people before us have fought for.”
The crowd held a four and a half minute moment of silence to honor and remember Brown. The victim’s parents called for the same thing the night before on Monday, with each of the minutes representing the number of hours their son’s body had been left in the street after he was shot.
The entire demonstration lasted no more than 45 minutes.
For many of the students there, the awareness brought problems and conversations that came from the incident.
“It’s important for me a white person to be an ally,” said Alexa Wheeler, a sophomore history and women’s studies double major.
But for others, it raised more questions.
“How many times does light need to be brought on a situation?” said Kea Rief, a sophomore social work and women’s studies double major.
Others felt a similar outrage.
“Everything that’s happened, it’s really deeply disturbed me,” said Harry Wolfson-Slepian, a junior studio art major, who emphasized the importance of bringing attention to issues like these. “Not being present is making things like this go away.”
Outrage and disappointment in the decision was not only many members of the UNH community, but globally as well. According to an article by the Boston Globe, more than 3.5 millions tweets with the hashtag #Ferguson were sent out on Nov. 24. The number of peaked shortly after the decision was announced, with more than 50,000 tweets a minute.
The decision to not indict Wilson was made based on the fact that the grand jury was unable to determine that probable cause existed to charge Wilson, according to St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch, in his announcement on Monday.
Wilson will not be charged formally for the crime and will not go to trial.