Ferguson rally led by UAlbany students blocks Washington Ave
By Kassie Parisi
Dec. 3, 2014
University at Albany students held a rally that ended up blocking traffic for at least 20 minutes on Washington Avenue today to show their support of Michael Brown. Brown, a black teenager, was fatally shot in Ferguson, MO., by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Approximately 90 protestors made their way around the entire UAlbany campus, ending their march at University Hall.
The rally began at the small fountain around 1 p.m. Students were given the opportunity to speak in front of the other protestors, many of whom were holding homemade signs that voiced their support of the movement.
“We keep asking for things but that’s not how we get them. We have to take what is ours,” said one protestor who was speaking about the need for racial issues to be addressed by the country as a whole.
The students then left the small fountain and made their way down into the Lecture Centers, where they took up chants such as, “no justice, no peace,” and, “hands up, don’t shoot.” Marchers walked with their hands raised.
After they left the Lecture Centers, protestors hit the Campus Center and the main library, eventually returning back outside and making their way to Washington Avenue. They then formed a line across the street to block any vehicles, except an ambulance, from moving. Some students initially banged their fists on the truck when the driver forced the vehicle through the line, but after a tense moment of protestors speaking with the driver, the possibility of violence was avoided.
There were many onlookers who voiced their support for the protestors even though they didn’t join the blockade. UAlbany student Thomas Kika said that he admired the courage of the protestors and their willingness to stand up against adversity.
Many cars were stopped for at least 10 minutes. Law enforcement (a mix of Albany police and University police) arrived soon after and at one point there were at least 14 police cars on the scene. Deputy Chief of University Police Aran Mull was present at the rally as well and even began to march with students as they made their way to University Hall, to the office of President Jones.
Once the protestors arrived at University Hall they commenced a period of silence in which they paid their respects to Brown. Protestors did not get to speak to Jones, who was out of the office at the time. Instead, they began a conversation among themselves regarding the importance of their actions and how they could continue to raise awareness of the Ferguson issue on campus.
One student said that they have to “fight, and keep fighting in order to make a difference.”
“We are the future and we have to honor what our forefathers have done for us. This is bigger than us,” said another.
One protestor was a student at Saint Rose. She mentioned that nobody at Saint Rose had made any attempt to raise awareness of the Ferguson issue and she applauded the UAlbany students for making a stand.
As the rally was winding down, many protestors made the point that their activism could not end today because the Ferguson issue is ongoing and progress would not be made after only one demonstration. It is possible that there will be other rallies regarding Ferguson on campus, but the dates and times of such demonstrations have not been established as of yet.