In the early morning hours of the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, fire alarms in four of the Central Connecticut resident halls were pulled, prompting hundreds of students to head into the chilly night air.
There they found a group of protestors who had been marching since midnight in support of Ferguson, following the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, an black, unarmed 18-year-old on August 9.
While who pulled the alarms remains unclear, the conversation that began among Central students that night spilled over into Tuesday afternoon, when Senator Chris Murphy visited campus to talk to students regarding what Connecticut was doing to address some of the issues that arose following the events in Ferguson.
Murphy and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker have drafted a bill aimed at racial disparities for children within the criminal justice system.
The campus protests were led by a newly formed group on Central’s campus: Carrying Humanity as New Generations Emerge or C.H.A.N.G.E.
According to their website, the purpose of C.H.A.N.G.E is to promote support and leadership within students across collegiate and secondary education campuses, further not only personal achievements but also to create opportunities that will further both individual, group and community success and encourage, unity, class, achievement, respect and leadership skills in young individuals for the present into the coming future.
The effort taken by C.H.A.N.G.E. to bring the issues of Ferguson to light here at Central should be commended. It can often be easy from so far away to look with a critical eye on the events in Missouri and say things should be changed. It’s another to take an active step toward facilitating that change.
On Tuesday C.H.A.N.G.E. met with other students and members of the Student Government Association, to discuss holding a town hall at the start of the Spring 2015 semester to discuss the issue of racial profiling in Connecticut.
A report issued in September showed the black drivers in Connecticut were nearly twice as likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers and twice as likely to have their vehicles searched. This, despite the fact that barely more than 11 percent of Connecticut’s population is black.
The emergence of C.H.A.N.G.E. on Central’s campus is just further indication of CCSU students willing to discuss social issues in an honest and open manner.
Susan Campbell, a communications professor at Central, echoed those thought in an op-ed published in the Courant on Monday. In it, she details her students willingness to discuss Ferguson in the context of wealth and income inequality in America.
It’s the hope of this editorial board that C.H.A.N.G.E. and other members of the Central community continue to push the conversation in Connecticut and at CCSU on what can be done to fix the broken system we’re living in.