On Aug. 9, 2014 the nation was rocked back on its heels when police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the months following the incident, the Ferguson case has been at the top of every news site in the country as protests, some violent, rage on and more and more cases of police brutality toward blacks are brought to light. The case has been given more attention in the last couple of weeks due to the jury’s “no indictment” decision regarding the officer and the outrage among US citizens that has erupted as a result.
Not one person is immune to the case, with people of all ages, races and genders getting involved in the movement. Teenagers and young adults have taken the case personally since Michael was only 18 and this generation seems adamant on positive change. In particular, Chattahoochee students have joined other Atlanta residents for the cause of ending police brutality and acting on the principle of equality and justice for all.
The wave of action in Atlanta began on a Wednesday in late October when “a human blockade temporarily formed on I-75/85 northbound as protesters halted traffic,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Atlanta police spokesman Officer John Chafee said a number of protesters were present on the Downtown Connector near Freedom Parkway. Their presence blocked traffic for a short time (AJC). These protests hit close to home with other Atlanta teens and acted as the green light for change in our school.
Peyton Rowe (SR) suggested that students follow the lead of other schools and stage a walk-out during the pledge of allegiance the Monday after Thanksgiving break. Carly Rudnick (SR) took probably the most dramatic step in raising awareness at Hooch for the case and its repercussions. She helped share a petition, written anonymously, that called for a four- and- a-half minute moment of silence during the pledge to highlight the four and a half hours Mike Brown lay dead after the shooting. The letter stated “We pledge allegiance to the United States every morning, yet it has failed to grant liberty and justice for all. I think it would be nice if we as a school sent a message of support, and therefore I want to send this email to administration.” The letter noted that its purpose was in no way related to the jury’s verdict released the previous Monday; it was created to “show support for the Brown family and for the safety of the people in Ferguson.”
It brought up how the students understand that this is “a polarizing issue that the administration may not want to take a stance on,” but it reached out for their support of the change that must take place in our society. Students were free to comment on the post and add their names to the bottom to show their support. However, the petition was not accepted and the moment of silence was not followed through. While action may not have taken place in these instances, Chattahoochee students still contributed to the hundreds of thousands of social media posts pertaining to the case. The students recognized the power of social media and used it to their advantage to share their opinions, offer condolences and support and demand change in an argument for equality that has been prevalent for years but never stopped. Chattahoochee students are the next generation of social action leaders, and they have proved that they will not stand for injustice or offense resulting from years of ripe aggression.