People Combat Ferguson Happenings Through Peaceful Events

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One month after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, the controversy surrounding his death remains. The focus, however, is now shifting from anger about how it was handled toward awareness about where to go from here.

Co-President of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens Barb Harrison says this is a great opportunity for people to take a stand for peace. "We felt this is an appropriate day to gather and just form a peace vigil," Harrison said. "We're very concerned that all people are treated with compassion and dignity so for us, we feel like a way to get there is to stand for nonviolence and support peaceful interaction in all human relations."

Harrison acknowledges that there are important and blatant issues with Brown's death, saying "unfortunately, [it] really exemplifies a lot of what is happening in our world today."

Students across campus agree with this stance. Sophomore Jeffrey Billingslea says this case brings attention to the abuse of police power that is prevalent in the country today. "It shows a lack of emotion, a lack of remorse and a lack of caring," Billingslea said. "[The police showed] a blatant sign of disrespect and lack of humility."

Graduate student Terrica Leonard echoes this statement and urges for the police to be held accountable. Despite the influx of citizen journalism in Ferguson on social media, Leonard says the police "still aren't being held accountable." She continues, "You have to take action within your community first."

UUFA hears these pleas and is taking action Tuesday evening with a peaceful candlelight vigil to commemorate Brown's death.

Chair of Standing On the Side of Love at UUFA Daniel R. Williams says the event won't have much interaction within the crowd. "We want it to be kind of quiet and subdued, acknowledging that we need to be mindful rather than up in arms about some of these issues.

Williams says everyone from the community is welcome to join them Tuesday evening. The vigil will be at the Athens County Courthouse from 5:00 to 6:00 pm.