Students organize Blackout at Brown and teach-in in solidarity with Mizzou

A few hundred students, dressed mostly in black, stood by the Van Wickle Gates at noon today to take a photo to show solidarity and support for Black students at the University of Missouri. Attendees remained huddled, some under umbrellas, to listen as several Black students, one by one, took to a megaphone to share their stories. They spoke about the institutional racism they had personally experienced, about the University’s refusal to value their existence and acknowledge their identities, and called for institutional changes to prevent future traumas and actualize equality on campus.


Many students spoke about their own experiences with racism in the classroom. A first-year spoke about being in an MCM class in which the professor, after quoting a text, repeatedly used the n-word to refer to Black bodies. “It happened five times before I had to walk out,” he said. After tweeting about the incident, the student has met several times with school administrators, and said his professor sent out an email acknowledging her use of language. “But it wasn’t an apology. It was an excuse.”

Another student expressed frustration with having to continually meet with administrators about the perpetuation of institutional racism by faculty members. “I’m here because I’m tired,” they said. “I haven’t done schoolwork in months, but I’m meeting with administrators.” Others elaborated on the discomfort that many Black students feel in classrooms with professors that have made racially charged comments or have criticized the work of activists on campus. “Ken Miller, David Josephson, Ariella Azoulay, Glenn Loury — these people aren’t being punished, but we are.”



In reference to the email sent by President Christina Paxson P’19 and Richard Locke, one student asked, “Why did they all of the sudden send out that e-mail after Mizzou and Yale?” The letter, titled “Promoting a Diverse, Inclusive Academic Community,” was sent this Tuesday to the community. “Are they scared [of losing their jobs]?” the student continued. “They should be. I’m very tired of institutional racism. If it doesn’t stop, if free speech isn’t removed from this discussion, she should be afraid.” Another student added, “I just want to say that our humanity is not up for debate.” One speaker pointed out that it took a year for the University to put a “Do not touch” sign in front of the only slavery memorial on campus, although “white children played on it the day after it was put up.”

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Takeaways from The Verdict: community discussion on the events of Ferguson, Missouri


Following the the silent, peaceful and powerful Die-In Protest, students gathered at the Brown-RISD Hillel at 5 pm to vocalize their feelings towards the events of Ferguson, MO.

After seeing a case that has captivated the country’s attention and caused so much student response, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hosted the event with one clear purpose: “To provide a background into the events surrounding the verdict of whether to indict Darren Wilson, including the events surrounding the murder of Mike Brown and the climate of Ferguson after these events.” 

While the participants in the discussion expressed their own tear-jerking opinions, the moderators, Ricardo Mullings ‘15.5 and Godwin Tsado ’16, provided a comprehensive, clear guide to the facts of the case and the consequent media coverage. This is what we all should know:

The evidence and Darren Wilson’s testimony.

On August 9th, Michael Brown was jaywalking when Officer Darren Wilson asked him to move to the sidewalk. According to Wilson, when he tried to exit his vehicle to approach Brown, Brown closed the car door before he could get out, which started an altercation. The officer claims that after receiving a blow to the head from Brown, he drew his weapon. Wilson said that he was scared for his life, and that he “felt like a five year old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” in the presence of Brown. He also claims that he was assaulted by Brown, and was diagnosed with a bruise in the mandibular joint area, or the jaw. After the assault, Brown grabbed the weapon, perhaps to intentionally jam it, or maybe to use it on the officer.

The gun itself was never tested for Brown’s prints, only his blood DNA, but either way it resulted in two shots that hit Brown, causing him to flee from the officer. As Wilson pursued Brown, he fired 10 more shots, six of which hit and ended the 18 year old’s life. The autopsy showed that none of the bullets hit Brown in the back, however witnesses say that the officer fired his weapon while Brown was fleeing, which caused the unarmed teenager to turn around, either in surrender or in retaliation depending on who you ask, as he faced six more bullets. Brown’s body was found 153 feet away from the officer’s vehicle.

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#AYOTZINAPA comes to Brown with teach-in, exhibit


Did you see these 43 empty chairs set up on the Main Green today? Did you walk by them without figuring out what they were for? It’s fine, you probably aren’t alone in that. But these chairs, an exhibit titled “We are the 43 still missing,” were there as an homage to the 43 students at a Mexican teachers college that disappeared this September after an encounter with local police. The students were on their way to a protest when they were arrested — after a gunfight in which 10 other students died — handed over to a cartel called the United Warriors, and presumably murdered. Each chair on the Main Green today had a portrait of one of the missing students on it. Their disappearance has sparked outrage both in Mexico and around the world.

Last night, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies hosted a teach-in on the tragedy in Iguala, the town in which the Normal University of Ayotzinapa is located. The Center’s director, Richard Snyder, moderated the panel, which consisted of four women: Janice Gallagher, Paula Martínez  ’17, Atenea Rosado-Viurques, and Camila Ruiz ’18.

Before any of the panelists spoke to a packed Kassar Foxboro auditorium, however, Snyder showed a 5 minute video titled “Mexico: The Wound of the World” to provide some context. Since the beginning of the use of the military against drug cartels in 2006, levels of violence have exploded. The country’s poorest states, including Guerrero, where these students were from, have faced disproportionate amounts this violence.

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What to do this week: October 6 – 12



Monday, October 6:

Event: The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong: A Teach In
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Wilson 102

Featuring five panelists from different universities, this teach-in will focus on the recent ruling by the Chinese National People’s Congress that declared that all candidates for Chief Executive in Hong Kong must be approved by a pro-Beijing election committee.

Event: Students on Israel and Palestine, Take Two
Time: 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Location: Salomon 003

This meta-discussion will focus on the way we discuss Israel-Palestine on campus – the many forums, lectures, groups and panels interacting with the subject.

Event: 2nd Chinese Women’s Documentary Film Festival
Time: Various showings throughout the day, check FB page for more info
Location: Metcalf Auditorium

This film festival features Chinese-origin directors from around the world. Today is the final day of screenings and symposiums with directors.

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Live Blog: Ferguson Teach-In

What to do this week: September 9 – 14


Tuesday, September 9:

Event: Ferguson Teach-In
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Salomon 101, De Ciccio Family Auditorium

This teach-in hopes to provide students with a place to learn more about and to discuss recent events in Ferguson, Missouri concerning the shooting of Michael Brown. There will be a panel leading the dialogue that includes Anthony Bogues, Director of  the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice, Richard Locke, Director of the Watson Institute, James Morone, Director of the Taubman Center, and Tricia Rose, Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Event: RISD Block Party
Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Benefit St

The equivalent of our Activities Fair, this is an opportunity for RISD students to find out how to get involved with various clubs, organizations and non-profits, but there will also be food and games and (art) stuff! All are welcome.

Wednesday, September 10:

Event: PW Presents: Going Somewhere – A Game Show
Time: 8:00 p.m. (also showing the 11th, 12th, and 13th, at the same time)
Location: PW Upspace

Come see an original play written and directed by Isabel Diawara ’17.

Event: Why Gaza Matters: The War and its Consequences
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Macmillan 117

This event will facilitate dialogue about the bloodshed in Gaza and the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will be led by five Brown faculty members, including Beshara Doumani, director of Middle East Studies and Joukowsky Family Professor of Modern Middle East History, and is co-hosted by the Middle East Studies department and the Watson Institute.

Friday, September 12:

Event: 257 Grand Opening Party
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: 257 Thayer

257 is having a ‘leasing party’ but you can go without a renter’s agreement; there will be free food and an iPad giveaway.