By Nebeu Abrah (’18)
He who witnesses an injustice but stands idly by and allows the injustice to continue is just as bad, if not worse, than the original aggressor. With this belief in mind, last Tuesday, we shut down Cascade Avenue.
Recently, Darren Wilson was not indicted for murdering Michael Brown. As I sat with my fellow peers in complete disbelief following the decision, it became clear to me that the verdict meant that Michael Brown’s life was declared unworthy of trial. This case is relevant because it is bigger than just Michael Brown. This case made an indirect statement on the status of Black men in America. Black Lives simply don’t matter as much. Black lives are disposable, black people are a source of danger, and our “justice” system will allow Black lives to continually be taken without any repercussion and in some case with reward.
It is imperative to recognize the main point to take away from our rally is that we are not just protesting Daren Wilson. We are not just outraged by his freedom. What we are painstakingly frustrated with is the system that makes stripping Black mothers of their teenage sons common place. This specific case is not necessarily all that matters, what mattes is the message that it sends and the legal system that the case was subject to. Although it sure would have helped ease the pain, Darren Wilson’s arrest would not have ended police brutality or bring Michael Brown back to life.
We often become much too concerned with the “facts” of the case, which are often frighteningly easy to skew, when the single truth that we need to focus on is that a life was lost when it didn’t need to be. That’s it. Michael Brown is dead. Black teens are being gunned down in the streets as if it were a national sport. This is the problem. When the verdict came out, I was not concerned with Darren Wilson. In my eyes, it was the killing of Black teens that was not indicted that day. This is the injustice that I see and the injustice that I have and will continue to combat.
Practicality is a luxury that we couldn’t afford. To catalyze the change that we wanted to see, my fellow Black Student Union officers and I had to think big. After spending much of the evening just trying to process the non-indictment of Wilson, around midnight, we began to take action. The march that shutdown streets in the second biggest city in the state of Colorado, the march that had several news stations begging for interviews, the march that had police officers scrambling to redirect traffic and regain control of the streets, was all started by 4 heartbroken students who wanted change. Once one person proposed the idea that we should shut down a street, we ran with it. We were up with the team of student leaders at Colorado College sending last minute emails and speaking to news stations after hours at 2 am. We knew that the college bound Michael Brown would have had a prolific voice if he had lived, but we wanted to ensure, that in his death, his voice would ring out ten times louder than it ever would have.
For the Michael Browns of the past, present, and future, we fight.