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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizonans depart for Ferguson in show of support for protesters

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Meghan Fernandez

Maria Moore, program director for African American Student Affairs program, (left) and Thomas Martin, a marketing senior, (right) speak outside a local cafe to community members before heading to Ferguson, Mo., with the national “Black Lives Matter Ride.”

Over 30 people from the Tucson community gathered outside Cafe Desta, a locally owned business, Wednesday evening to send off seven people to Ferguson, Mo.

The group of seven, with at least four people from Phoenix, is taking part in the Black Lives Matter Ride, a national effort in response to the situation unfolding in Ferguson. The group leaving from Tucson made the decision last week to take part in the effort and go to Ferguson, said Thomas Martin, a marketing senior.

According to Martin, the group is still raising funds for the caravan, but has already raised $2,000 and pulled the trip together in five days. Martin said the caravan will leave sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

The send-off began with Maria Moore, program director for African American Student Affairs, and Martin delivering a speech in front of the group of people, who gathered around them.

Moore explained why they decided to join in the national Black Lives Matter Ride, announcing it as a “call to action” to help with what’s transpiring in Ferguson. Moore also read the national goals of this ride to Ferguson.

The goals were justice for the family of Michael Brown, development of national policy to decrease the pattern of violence against black people, the demilitarization of law enforcement, the release of the names of law enforcement officials involved in killing black people and cutting law enforcement spending by one-half and investing that money in black communities affected by poverty.

One crowd member yelled out, “About time!” when Moore read the goal of demilitarization of law enforcement.

Moore also emphasized drawing connections between the racial injustice in Ferguson to the racial injustice in Tucson against the Latino community. Moore then invited the caravan riders to state why they were going to Ferguson. Martin spoke first.

“I’m a black male,” Martin said. “I’ve been a victim of police brutality.”

Another rider expressed her desire to show support in Ferguson.

Lola Rainey, a local activist in the community, expressed her view of the need to take action against racial injustice.

“The fear of a black male is poisonous,” Rainey said.

The plan when the group arrives in Ferguson is to do workshopping and training on advocacy, according to Beverley Makhubele, who is also one of the caravan members. She, like Moore, wishes to close the racial gaps between people in Ferguson as well as Tucson.
Makhubele said nervous wasn’t the word she would use to describe how she felt about going to Ferguson.

“There’s been an incredible calm leading up to it,” Makhubele said. “I just kinda left that up to the universe.”

The group plans to continue its advocacy in the Tucson community when it returns from Ferguson and plans to further address the racial injustice in Tucson. The members plan to have monthly meetings, with the first one tentatively scheduled for Sept. 11.

—Follow Meghan Fernandez on Twitter @MeghanFernandez

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