At least 200 Princeton University students protested on Prospect Avenue late last night after a St. Louis County grand jury brought no criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, a suburb of St. Louis.
The protest took place between 12:00 am and 1:15 am on Tuesday morning, a night when many students went to eating clubs for the night before Thanksgiving break. Many of the protesters originally planned to be partying at the street that night, before they were alerted to the protest.
Their signs included slogans like “Justice for Mike Brown,” “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The protest was organized by a group of students concerned about the issue, many of whom are involved in groups such as Black Student Union, Black Leadership Coalition, and Students for Education Reform.
After discussing the events on a Facebook group chat with about 15 students, Destiny Crockett, sophomore of St. Louis, MO and President of Students for Education Reform, called for the group of students to meet at the Women’s Center to make posters and then hold the protest. They joined with another group, also organized over a Facebook group chat, which was also considering a protest. Once they had determined a time, Crockett sent the call out to listservs.
“It started out with three of us in the women’s center at 11:00 and by 11:45 there were twenty-five of us,” Crockett said.
The students left the Women’s Center at midnight, and organized on Frist’s North Lawn, to distribute posters and organize chants. By the time they left Frist, a total of roughly 100 students had joined, Crockett said.
At that point, the students marched on Prospect Avenue, back and forth four times. Princeton Police officers were present, and blocked traffic to make sure that the protest could continue.
Crockett said that as many as 300-400 students joined the protest at its peak. Other students estimated the figure at at least 200 students. Many of those students were headed to eating clubs before they joined, and when they joined the protest they were given posters.
“For the most part, it was people who were headed to eating clubs, and decided to not go to eating clubs and protest,” Crocket said.
At about 1:15 am, the protest ended with a four-and-a-half minute moment of silence for Mike Brown, an event which his family had called for, and a reference to the more than four hours that Brown lay in the street after his death.