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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ferguson column: St. Louis native worries about her city

    On Aug. 9, I was hauling moving boxes into my new room at my sorority house in Tucson when officer Darren Wilson, in St. Louis, shot Michael Brown.

    Michael Brown was black and Darren Wilson is white.

    I was not fazed by the news. I’m from St. Louis; we’ve always had race issues. It’s sad and naive how complacent I was, right?

    But on Monday, I watched the news as it was announced that Wilson will not be indicted and people cried and news broadcasters wore gas masks and the National Guard stood in formation. I am in shock at the disarray of my home.

    I can feel the pain of Brown, his family, his friends and every other oppressed African-American resident of St. Louis who lives in a world of white power, poverty and a failing education system. I’ve seen the destruction and the hopelessness of Ferguson, Mo., and other areas of North County. St. Louis has a problem. I live among many racists, and maybe Brown will be the spark to ignite the change.

    However, I can lose sight of the importance of creating change in my hometown when my family is afraid, when I am afraid. 

    Businesses and schools are closed and boarded up, Governor Jay Nixon called a state of emergency in Missouri and news footage is littered with cars on fire and broken glass. Will the city have to burn for change?

    There is so much noise. I feel too involved in the situation to be able to explain it to anyone here at Arizona without sounding racist or like a tree-hugging hippie. No one understands.

    Honestly, I have no idea which verdict would have been better.

    Brown should not have been killed. But, when evidence and testimonies are released, they will be the final word on whether Brown died an unarmed, innocent man or an unarmed, guilty man.

    My family knows Robert McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney who read the verdict, and he’s a great guy. Should that sway how I feel about the situation?

    I want to see equal opportunities for everyone in St. Louis, but does that mean that I shouldn’t be worried about the safety of my family tonight? It’s like the roles have been reversed just a little bit; I can understand the everyday fear within the black community because I can now feel it, temporarily, as a member off the white community.

    I’m heartbroken.

    President Barack Obama said tonight that racism is an issue in America that must be addressed, especially the distrust between law enforcement and people of color, but also that people should protest peacefully and respect the verdict of the grand jury. I agree with his powerful statement, and I pray that we can create solutions that are coupled with peace.

    After all of this chaos, you can hop on Twitter for some ignorant entertainment. I can guarantee everyone you follow will magically be a politician, eyewitness or lawyer now that the verdict is out.

    Yes, American flags have been burned tonight during protests in Ferguson, but an account actually called @Drunk_America decided to start tweeting about how “disrespectful” the protesters were acting. Which is worse: burning a flag to make a statement or a self-proclaimed parody patriot attempting to understand burning a flag to make a statement?

    I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but until all court documents are released, I will mourn for my city and I will mourn Michael Brown as a person, not as a symbol.

    _______________

    Trey Ross is a journalism sophomore. Follow her on Twitter.

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