By Gerry Carolina, Northeast Regional representative for the National Youth Action Committee, and coordinator of Amnesty International, Mount Holyoke College
It’s been 2 months since the death of Michael Brown, and even in the face of heavy-handed tactics by the police, peaceful protesters continue to march.
The community of Ferguson has called for a Weekend of Resistance from October 10-13, and Amnesty International Mount Holyoke College is answering in solidarity. 7 of us are driving from Western Massachusetts to Missouri this week, and our mission is to mobilize students to action, raise awareness, and build bridges between our students and the community of Ferguson.
“What is happening in Ferguson is not new to me,” Dianna Tejada told me. She’s a senior at Mount Holyoke who has seen first hand the ways that racial discrimination and police brutality have torn apart her community. “So, why am I interested in going to Ferguson? Because my life – our lives – matter. We are using our pain and turning it into power and resistance. This is only the beginning.”
The recent events in Ferguson have sparked an intense and long overdue national conversation about race, policing, and justice in the United States. I’ve seen the ways that discrimination impacts our own campus, and throughout the United States. As an Amnesty activist, I’ve stood with DREAMers demanding dignity and respect, organized to end violence against women, and fought for LGBT rights. As an Amnesty activist, I’m standing with those who are calling for police accountability, justice, and human rights.
We want to join and build momentum for a nationwide movement not only for rights-respecting policing, but also for an end to racial profiling and all forms of discrimination and racial injustice. That’s why we are going to Ferguson, joining Amnesty members from around the country to stand side by side with Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and many others. We need to be in Ferguson right now both to learn from the community and stand up for what is right.
We plan to return to campus after the weekend and continue to build this movement. We will further this conversation on our campus to expand and enrich our Mount Holyoke community’s understanding of these issues. By focusing on our own local community, we can begin to change the hearts and minds of more and more people in our society.
This weekend of resistance is a momentous occasion, and as Mount Holyoke women it is our responsibility to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters on the front lines of change. We invite all college students who have the resources to mobilize, to answer Ferguson’s call to action because #BlackLivesMatter!