Students discuss unrest, racial tension in Ferguson

Ferguson, Mike Brown, AAMEN



The police shooting of Mike Brown and the unrest that followed in Ferguson, Missouri is recognized by many, but fully understood by few. SUNY Buffalo State diversity program coordinator Jason Parker observed the gap between recognition and understanding and took action to address it. Parker, along with the African American Males Empowering Network (AAMEN), invited Jerryl T. Christmas, a defense attorney and former prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, to speak on campus Thursday night and give Buffalo State students better insight into the Mike Brown incident.

“How are we supposed to heal when the knife is still in our back? … Nothing has changed yet,” said Christmas, referring to the more than 150 days that have passed since the Mike Brown shooting — days without resolution or justice.

“This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon for justice,” Christmas said, reminding the audience to stay vigilant and not give up the fight for their beliefs.

After the speech, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions and give their opinions on the rash of police killings of unarmed black men and the struggle for civil rights in Ferguson. The discussion was lively, with members of the audience debating whether today’s generation had the capability and social consciousness to bring about change.

Parker used the meeting to introduce the Ferguson, Missouri Letter Project, a way for Buffalo State students to influence Ferguson and support youth that are in the middle of the tension going on there.

“The project is devoted to inspiring others and assisting them with the healing process, simply by offering written words of encouragement,” Parker said.

“Our goal is to convey to Ferguson, Missouri high school students and project participants that are willing to grow during trying times is a possible and viable goal when people work to come together… Students are invited to write letters to students attending McClure South-Berkeley High School in Ferguson, Missouri.”