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Gainesville protests Ferguson grand jury verdict

By Michela Martinazzi |
November 29, 2014
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Eric Brown, a lead organizer of Gainesville SDS, speaking
Eric Brown, a lead organizer of Gainesville SDS, speaking (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Gainesville, FL - 100 students and community members protested the Ferguson grand jury decision, the failure to indict police officer Darren Wilson. Gathering at the Alachua County Court House in Gainesville at on Nov. 25, the protesters, wearing raincoats and holding umbrellas, stood in solidarity as the rain fell.

Eric Brown, speaking on behalf of Students for a Democratic Society, emphasized that Michael Brown was one of many police killings, “I have to ask the question. What do we mean when we say Black lives matter? Because for us to move forward, Black lives can't equal Black men, but must include women, trans people, and all the intersections that exist under the identity of Black.”

In between speeches, protesters chanted, “No justice! No peace!”

This past summer, when African Americans and others were protesting Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Palestine was coping with the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Palestinians tweeted and messaged the Ferguson protesters messages of solidarity and ways to deal with tear gas.

Farah Kahn, vice-president of University of Florida Students for Justice in Palestine, said, "The solidarity between Ferguson and Palestine shows the strength in uniting against a common enemy. There is a slow genocide happening in Palestine, and there is also a genocide happening right here within the U.S. against Black people and people of color."

Nailah Summers, a Gainesville activist and the Civic Media Center coordinator, talked after the event, "I think Ferguson and the refusal to indict Darren Wilson for Michael Brown's murder tells us a few things many of us already knew. Black lives are less-than, aren't considered whole and worthy of even the most basic protections of the law. Look at how so much of the commentary following the announcement has revolved around Black 'animals' looting. 108 days fighting for scraps of the justice system and it's all been boiled down to this bullshit narrative.”

Summers continued, “The other thing Ferguson shows us is that it's time to get creative. We've been marching and singing and holding signs for more than half a century. And while all of those things have become inherent parts of our culture and the struggle for freedom, it's not working anymore. So it's time for us to hit the drawing board again because we're ready to fight back, we just have to figure out what that looks like.”

Along with University of Florida SDS and SJP, participating groups included Dream Defenders, Uhuru Solidarity, and Occupy Gainesville.

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