Houstonians to march for Ferguson, regardless of grand jury’s decision
CORRECTION: The original headline stated that the protest will happen regardless of the verdict; there will be no verdict. Instead, the grand jury will be deciding whether or not to hold a trial against Officer Darren Wilson. Also, the march will be the day after the grand jury’s decision, not the day of.
It’s been a few months since unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. The killing sparked outrage in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., igniting protests and increasing racial discussions across the nation. Now, as the decision whether to hold a trial against Wilson looms, protesters across the country – including Houston — are organizing a push for less police brutality.
A Houston grassroots movement is planning to march at 5 p.m. at MacGregor Park the day after a decision is made on the future of Officer Wilson.
“The goal of this protest is to bring Ferguson to Houston,” said Rene Arias, one of the founders of the organization.
“While many organizations have done a pretty good job making Ferguson relevant here in Houston, we want to end mass incarceration and criminalization of minorities. We want this movement to be a nationwide event, keeping the Ferguson situation at the forefront.”
The organization meets to share readings and discuss opportunities to participate in protests against police brutality in the Houston area.
“We formed this group because of recent events of police brutality across the nation,” Arias said. “A few of us met at a National Event of Silence held for Michael Brown and other events that have been held relating to police brutality in minority communities.”
While many are expecting Wilson not to be charged for his actions, the protest will take place regardless of the decision that’s made.
“If Wilson is not going to trial, we will have mass protest against it,” said UH alumnus and co-founder Treasje Mitchell. “We will still be unified, and we’re still going to push for something to be done. If he is held accountable, it’ll be a celebration. Finally, it will show that our voices are being heard.”
While the protest is for all Houstonians, Mitchell said she believes it’s important for students to participate in the protest.
“The youngest generation is the most important generation because they will make the changes that we all want to see,” Mitchell said. “You must participate, educate, and know what you’re talking about before you can make any changes.”
Arias also attributed student participation to the fact that many are from areas where police brutality is an issue.
“We’ve seen some UH students at some of our events in the past,” said Arias. “A lot of them come from neighborhoods where police brutality is a problem, and they’re excited to be active participants in making changes.”
UH alumnus and protestor Remington Alessi said he is hoping that students will see the importance of participating.
“If students consider systematic racism to be a problem, it’s certainly worth participating,” said Alessi. “Police brutality is not new, and it will only begin to change when citizens are vocal about the changes that must be made.”
The organization has been active on social media to get more Houstonians involved. The hashtags #IndictAmerica and #turnuphtown lead online readers to more information about the protests and the group’s philosophies and movements.
“There will be no sense of normalcy in this country until justice is served,” said Arias.
Students can learn more about how to get involved by joining the organization’s Facebook event page, #IndictAmerica: Protest for Mike Brown.