Shooting Victim Vigil At Capitol Sparked By National Social Medi - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Shooting Victim Vigil At Capitol Sparked By National Social Media Movement

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) -- A national social media movement helped organize nearly 200 peaceful demonstrators at the state capitol Thursday night to honor a slain teen from Missouri and others killed at the hands of police. 

"It actually started on Twitter by a woman by the name of Feminista Jones. She put a call out for cities to organize their own vigils, and I answered that call," said Alicia Hicks, organizer of Lansing's National Moment of Silence 2014.

Cities all over the country gathered Thursday in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, a black teen who was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The racially-charged tensions and violent protests that ensued in Ferguson after Brown's death prompted Jones to ask Twitter users nation-wide to organize a National Moment of Silence in their respective cities. 

"It means a lot for me personally to be from St. Louis and have everyone from around the country standing with my city during this particular time," said Amethyst Brown, a St. Louis native studying at Michigan State University. 

The racially-diverse crowd of demonstrators held signs with the names of unarmed victims of color killed by law enforcement, and called for an end to police brutality. 

"We haven't gotten that far," said Hicks. "We're here in 2014, 50 years later, and we're still dealing with the same issues they were dealing with in the 1960's. Unfortunately, we like to think we've come so far, we have a black president, but that's all a facade."

One demonstrator from Arizona, in town for a work-related conference, said she learned about the Lansing vigil on Twitter, and came out to support the cause. "I think all life matters, but I think in our country, unfortunately, police are not protecting black lives the way they should be," said Aubrey Niehaus. "They're treating black folks as second class citizens and that's not okay."

Demonstrators and organizers said they hope the events in Ferguson capture the nation's attention enough to open the dialogue about race and police brutality in a way that will help the nation heal from wounds created long ago.
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