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Rural Missouri students stand against police racism

By Sam Rogers

Kirksville, MO – Only a three-hour drive from Ferguson is Kirksville, Missouri, home to Truman State University (TSU). On Dec. 5, students walked out on the last day of regular classes to demonstrate against racist police violence in Missouri and throughout the country. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Amnesty International organized the protest with help from the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma and other student activists.

The protest snowballed as it moved across campus, attracting more students with shouts of “Black lives matter!” and “Indict, convict, send those killers cops to jail!” The large group disrupted lunchtime in the student union building with a mass die-in. They then showed that even in the quietest library, the people would not be silenced. Chanting students occupied a bridge between academic buildings and the campus mall, attracting the attention of everyone on campus.

Similar to actions across the U.S., the Truman State protest voiced student outrage at recent grand jury decisions. The failure to indict the police officers that murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner denies justice, with police seldom standing trial for their crimes. Much of the TSU student body comes from the Saint Louis area and several Truman students demonstrated in Ferguson during the semester. Earlier this fall in Saint Louis, two students participating in a QuikTrip sit-in were beaten, arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. Organizers were excited by the overwhelming turnout of students opposing the racist state violence targeting African American people, just as it has throughout U.S. history.

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