As the nation reflects on the protests in Ferguson, Mo. following the shooting of Michael Brown, 20 students gathered in front of the Michigan Union Friday afternoon to march against perceived police brutality.
BAMN, a nationwide group founded in California in 1995, organized the protest. It identifies itself as a coalition to defend affirmative action, integration and immigrant rights, and fight for equality by any means. BAMN protested at the University Friday with a focus on preventing sexual assault and increasing minority representation on college campuses.
“The only thing that can break the routine of false promises by the administration is mass resistance like the struggle in Ferguson, bringing back the spirit of the Black Action Movement strike that shown down this campus in 1970 under the slogan ‘open it up or we will shut it down,’ according to a BAMN flyer.
On Aug. 9, Brown, who is Black, was shot and killed by a white police officer after an altercation that is under investigation, but Brown was unarmed at the time. Ferguson citizens, through protest and dialogue over the past month, have created a nation-wide conversation on police practices in the United States.
This is not the first time that BAMN has protested at the University. Last April, BAMN twice marched into the Office of Admissions to demand the University double minority student enrollment, create a Dream scholarship for undocumented students and provide full financial aid for every student who is admitted.
According to their flyer, BAMN returned this year to continue to push for those demands as well as to protest the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Liana Mulholland, a 2009 graduate of the University and member of BAMN, said Ferguson helped to ignite a drive for students to fight against racism on campus.
“Because of what happened in Ferguson, with people really putting up a fight against police brutality, it not only made people want to fight police brutality but it really made people feel like it was possible to fight racism on campus,” Mulholland said.
According to Mulholland, the campus climate, low minority enrollment, feeling of sexism and sexual assault and question of immigrant rights on campus are all problems that BAMN wishes to address.
“We just really want to let people know that we are opening up the fight,” Mulholland said. “If people want to fight around any of these questions, BAMN is it. You should join BAMN and be a part of this fight.”