North Texas Daily

Dentonites gather in solidarity for Ferguson, police brutality victims

Dentonites gather in solidarity for Ferguson, police brutality victims

Dentonites gather in solidarity for Ferguson, police brutality victims
August 15
19:03 2014

Rhiannon Saegert / Senior Staff Writer

Mourners carrying red balloons and plenty of bottled water gathered in Denia Park Thursday to hold a vigil and observe a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the teenager who was gunned down by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer last week in an alleged act of police brutality that has sparked ongoing riots in the area. The vigil also honored all other police brutality victims.

It was one of about 100 simultaneous nationwide demonstrations. About 30 people attended.

TWU student Whitney Bracey, who organized the vigil with fellow TWU students Shantell Faithful and Mariah Bertrand, said she decided to take action when she looked for one to attend and realized the closest was in Dallas. She said she was willing to make the drive, but she had always wanted to stand up for something she believed in strongly.

“We’re not here to cause an uproar,” she said. “We just want to stand up against something that’s wrong in a peaceful way.”

Bracey said for her the demonstration was in honor of all victims of police brutality, not just Brown.

“I’ve had friends who’ve been assaulted by police officers,” she said. “For me, it’s for everyone. Wrong is wrong, and nobody deserves to be beaten or killed.”

After the nationally-observed moment of silence at 6:20 p.m., Bertrand recited the Essex Hemphill poem “For My Own Protection,” and demonstrators were invited to share their experiences with police brutality and their feelings about the situation in Ferguson.

“Let this be a movement and not a moment,” UNT student Mary Brown said. “Because if this is just a moment then we’re going to keep losing.”

Mary Brown, whose unarmed cousin was shot in the leg by a police officer, asked mourners to continue raising awareness after the vigil.

“The movement’s not just letters,” she said. “It’s not just phone calls. We have to go a step past it, because it’s going to be one of the worst things in my life when I have to tell my 13-year-old son not to put his hands in his pockets in front of the police. That’s one of those days I’d prefer not to have.”

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Vigil holders released their balloons into the sky at the end of the gathering.

Joseph McCraw, another mourner, said instances of police brutality can happen to anyone.

“Every day we’re watching more and more,” McCraw said. “Not just black, white, it’s across the board. It’s no longer categorized as a color. It’s now everyone.”

At the end of the vigil, Bracey urged mourners to look out for one another, be careful and protect themselves.

Featured Image: Lewisville teacher Ramona Lowe speaks out against police violence as vigil organizer Whitney Bracey looks on. Photos by Joshua Knopp

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