Protests and demonstrations broke out across the country on Monday, including on the Boston College campus, after the St. Louis grand jury voted to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“We felt like our silence was no longer acceptable," said Desiree Huston, the events coordinator for the Black Student Forum. "We are on BC's campus, where we do feel safe for the most part, but I felt like it was our duty to speak up on behalf of those who don't have the same trust in their local police department due to experiences of police brutality.”
Around 10:30 p.m., the students began to gather in front of Lower dining hall, holding posts saying “Black Lives Matter."
The students marched to O’Neil Library, where they shouted “Are we angry? Yes! What do we want? Justice!"
The rally attracted more followers as the night marched on. Six BC police officers were present during the protest, standing about 15 feet away from the rally, supervising the event. There was no conflict between the BCPD and the crowd.
The students marched through the quads, returned to the lower campus and arrived in front of BCPD police station.
“I love my white brothers. I love my brown brothers. I love my brown sisters,” yelled the student at the front of the crowd. “It’s my duty to live. It’s my right to be safe in thhe country.”
The protest was pointed, and brought the conflict in Ferguson close to home.
“One BCPD officer in particular is known in the black community here for repeatedly stopping the same males of color and asking to see their Eagle ID," Houston said. "And we wanted to let BCPD know that we're not going to stand back while injustices within BC and outside of the BC community continue."
She stressed that this is not a "black issue, it's really a human issue." The entire campus should be concerned about the treatment of fellow students, according to Houston.
"I think that some people within the black and AHANA community here have this idea that if you have a BC degree you are different, protected, and the issues that others are facing has nothing to do with you," Houston said. "But where you went to school, reside, or where you work means nothing once an officer sees you as a criminal or as a threat simply based on the color of your skin."
College campuses across the country protested the grand jury's ruling in the Michael Brown case, but the peaceful protest at BC was a new experience for many students on campus.
“I hope it can be more organized, but I’m glad that it happened,” said Kerryn McNamee, A&S '15. "It's nice to see issues from outside the BC bubble come to campus."
This awareness is exactly what Houston and members of the Black Student Forum were hoping for.
"We acknowledge that we have a voice and from this day forward, we are going to use it whenever we do feel like we're being profiled or treated unfairly,” said Houston.