UCF students to protest Ferguson shooting
Hands up, don't shoot.
This phrase has been catching fire on social media in the past week in response to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who died after being shot by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. On Aug. 9, Brown, who was unarmed, was shot six times, with the final shot being one to the head, according to an ABC News report.
Students of Howard University gathered just a few days after the reports of Brown's death surfaced to take a picture in protest of the crime. The picture shows hundreds of students with their hands raised and includes the caption "Hands Up." Those students may not have known that their response would not only spark a movement, but would travel as inspiration all the way down to UCF.
The event "HandsUp UCF" was created from the conversations of two UCF students. Senior public administration major Tsciena White and sophomore political science major Isel Bedgood began talking about their disappointment in the actions that led to Brown's death. After bouncing ideas off each other and seeing Howard University's protesting portrait, they wanted to bring that type of impact to UCF.
"A lot of the black organizations on campus had gotten frustrated with [the issue] and wanted to do something to impact the situation and cause some sort of change," Bedgood said.
The two decided it was time to stop getting upset and put a date and time on when they were going to take action. They coordinated a peaceful protest, which will take place on Aug. 27 at 1 p.m on Memory Mall. White created a twitter account, @HandsUpUCF, and began to get the word out to different organizations and students on campus.
White and Bedgood maintain that although the black community was affected, this isn't a racial issue.
"A lot of people think it's a racial issue just because Michael Brown was black, but it's a human rights issue. Death isn't justified in any culture or color," Bedgood said.
And White couldn't agree more.
"I think the news reports were making it seem like just another black man was shot. But it was really just a young man who was just murdered in cold-blood," White said.
Fabian Rene, a sophomore health sciences pre-clinical major, also expressed his desire to make a statement on UCF's campus and said he will attend HandsUp UCF. He sees the killing as more than just a slain black teenager.
"I just feel like enough is enough, where we should just stand up. I don't think it's just a racial issue. I think it's more the police brutality. It's not just that it was a black person that got killed. It could've been anybody who was wrongfully killed," Renee' said.
A few UCF RSOs are also organizing events to speak out. The Black Student Union at UCF is in the process of organizing a forum with the Urban League of UCF. Bedgood said she hopes that HandsUp UCF gets the support of the whole UCF community.
"[The goal is] to make sure that not only do we have a lot of people there supporting the event but also a diverse group," Bedgood said. "If anyone got killed it wouldn't be right. It doesn't make sense for anyone not to join the black community [in this] because he was a human being."
A definite call to action has not been revealed yet but will be announced at the protest. White said that above all, there's one thing she wants participants to walk away with.
"I really want people to leave knowing that there is something that they can do. They don't have to just sit and watch," she said. "It's important to bring awareness to the issue. Not just let it pass us by once again."