Students and faculty members filled the Multicultural Center to discuss their reactions to the controversies in Ferguson, MO sparked the shooting death of Michael Brown.
This dialogue was hosted by the Committee for Diversity & Inclusion and the Multicultural Center, and was led by the Center’s director, Kathy Martinez.
This is one of the initial “First-Minute Programs” run by the Center, developed as an easy way for students and faculty to share their thoughts and feelings with one another in a safe space as soon as possible.
The event began with an overview of the case and the events leading up to the grand jury’s decision, as well as the protests that followed. The attendees then engaged in both small group and open discussion.
Academic Diversity Fellow Patricia Sanchez-Connally encouraged open-mindedness and respect in the discussion, saying, “We’re not here to say ‘We’re right,’ or ‘You’re wrong.’”
Much of the discussion focused on the riots that were happening around the country. Screenshots of the popular social media app Yik Yak were shown which depicted many FSU students’ anonymous thoughts on the events that occurred earlier that morning and the night before when the riots were occurring.
“I don’t want to promote violence, but how can you not be angry?” asked junior Fernando Rodriguez. “We forget about the life that was lost [because we are] focusing on the rioting.”
Junior Miles Garnett said, “The narrative of looters started to define everyone who was upset.”
Martinez closed the dialog with a few words for the participants to keep in mind.
“The reaction of the protestors does not delegitimize the sadness people are feeling,” she said. “Power yields nothing without demand.”