Students marched on Eastern Michigan University's campus Monday in protest of a St. Louis County grand jury decision to not bring criminal charges against Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, Mo. police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.
Darius Simpson, president of EMU's poetry society, led the march, which started outside the Department of Public Safety after Simpson beat a drum to gather a crowd.
The march began with four and a half minutes of silence to represent the four and a half hours Brown laid in the street after he was fatally shot.
The protesters’ chants included, “We young, we strong, we marching all night long” and “No justice, no peace, no racist-ass police.”
As the march moved across campus, students left their dorms to join in the protest. By the time the march reached the First-Year Center, the crowd had grown to more than 100 people.
President Susan Martin joined the protesters outside the FYC, but was asked not to address the crowd as the organizers of the march did not want university involvement until the entire student body could come together.
“It is important to show up,” Martin said.
Outside the FYC, students shared what the grand jury's decision meant to them, said prayers and started chants. The protest never grew violent.
“I am here to march against an injustice that I don't want to see for the next generation, this needs to end now,” said one student protester who chose to remain anonymous.
Members of the poetry society plan to start more peaceful protests of this issue throughout the year in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area, but protests will not be shared on social media in advance. At this time, the group is refusing university involvement.
EMU police were on the scene from the beginning of the peaceful march and watched as the protesters moved across campus, but did not engage with the crowd.