Webster University’s Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs (MCISA) house was filled with students—and silence. MCISA opened its doors to students Nov. 24 in anticipation of the grand jury’s decision whether or not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on criminal charges.
“I was stunned,” said Webster student MJ Johnson. “I was prepared for the decision, but it still cut the same.”
Johnson said she released a sigh of acknowledgement for the great deal of work that lies ahead once she learned the jury’s decision.
Johnson, along with many Association for African American Collegians (AAAC) members, have been preparing for the no-indictment verdict for weeks. They attended training sessions through other protest organizations to organize and prepare themselves regardless of the verdict.
Webster student Jonathan Strauser said he too was not surprised by the verdict and disappointed by the grand jury’s decision.
“This is only the first hour,” said Webster student Jonathan Strauser. “The violence is going to increase. It’s not going to go away over night; it’s going to continue.”
After the announcement, students passed permanent markers to write jail support team’s phone numbers on their arms. Students prepared to protest in South St. Louis, in the Shaw neighborhood, by layering up and stuffing their coats with water bottles.
As students walked out the door, MCISA Assistant Director Nicole Parres hugged them and wished them well. Parres said the MCISA house has been a safe place for students to discuss the course of events in Ferguson.
“I am proud and scared for them,” Parres said. “Our job in Student Affairs is to be here for our students. That’s what we’ve been doing this past few months, and that’s what we will continue to do.”