Demonstrators remember Michael Brown with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the apartment complex where he was killed to the Ferguson police station on January 19, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer August 9, 2014. His death caused months of sometimes violent protests in the St. Louis area and sparked nationwide outcry against use of excessive force by police. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
It’s no secret that some college students like to, well, “turn up,” over spring break. But, some activists in Ferguson, Mo., are asking students to “turn down,” for civic action.
The Guardian is reporting that activist leaders in the St. Louis suburb are looking to sign up 250 young people for a week of “community service and civic engagement,” including registering new voters, running food banks and cleaning up streets.
The move comes nearly two months after a grand jury sparked ongoing demonstrations when it failed to indict then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen, after a brief confrontation over the summer.
“Maybe there were some people who had planned to go down to Miami or Acapulco, and now see that there is something bigger,” Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman for the town and a co-founder of the Ferguson alternative spring break program, told the Guardian:
Bynes said the week would not simply be a continuation of the protests that spread from the region in August to New York, California and elsewhere around the U.S. “The movement needs to be more than die-ins, more than ‘shutting it down’,” Bynes said.
Nor will it be a chance for inexpensive frat-style festivities, however. “This is not ‘come party in St Louis and take a selfie at the Mike Brown memorial’,” said Bynes. “This about giving back to the community. Should people decide not to engage, they’ll forfeit the benefits.”…
The Ferguson alternative spring break is scheduled to run for five week-long sessions in March and April. After funding their own travel to Ferguson, students would be provided with accommodation, food and transportation during the program in return for a $100 charge.
The campaign’s slogan be “Turn Down for Ferguson.” We hope there are a lot of takers for this important effort.