Protesters who gathered at the White House on Saturday afternoon were determined to make an impact on the situation involving unarmed teenager Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. Some were cynical that anything would happen but they still felt that it was important to be involved in the moment because “it could’ve been me.”
Colin Byrd, a student at the University of Maryland, began the protest with an expressive, symbolic message which aimed to connect the dots between being a Black Terp and being an objector to the killings of unarmed black males.
Byrd explained that a Terrapin, also known as a Diamondback terrapin, has a diamond pattern on top of it’s shell. He further explained that a diamond is hard on the outside, soft on the inside and that a terrapin is always willing to stick their necks out.
In the same way that a terrapin has the ability to stick out it’s neck, Byrd encouraged the group which surrounded him in a circle to also stick their necks out for what they believe in. Byrd also called for police to be required to wear body cameras.
“We have a moral obligation to not remain silent,” Byrd said.
Samira Jackson, vice president of the Black Student Union, said that increasing police brutality sparked the idea for this protest to occur.
“Police brutality doesn’t have a race, doesn’t see color,” Jackson said.
Many protesters said that the situation in Ferguson served as the last trigger for them to want to bring about change.
“I think it’s the compilation of so many of these (incidents) happening. This isn’t the first time a black male has been shot for something that we don’t know the reason for exactly,” Black Student Union president Jazmyn White said.
During the protest, many onlookers and bystanders watched the events and even walked around the White House premises alongside the student protesters.
Cyd Igot, a bystander who was in the area, said that this protest was important in order to keep the conversation going.
“Silence is really dangerous no matter what,” Igot said.
Kosi Dunn and Damien Pinkett speak on why they’re at the protest and whether they’re afraid that this will become a social fad.
Courtney Humphrey and Betty Samson speak on being black in America and being cynical that a solution will be found
Dee Nyguen speaks on holding police accountable for their actions and personal experiences involving discrimination by police.
In case you missed our video from the protest, here it is: