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Students respond to Wilson verdict

Oxford students have reacted to news that policeman Darren Wilson who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, will not be charged.

OUSU’s WomCam Women of Colour Group released a statement online early on Wednesday stating that they stand “in solidarity” with the parents of Michael Brown and the protestors in Ferguson.

Riots have broken out across America after a grand jury voted not to hold criminal charges against Wilson, who, as put by WomCam, “shot the unarmed teenager six times and left him in a pool of his own blood for four hours”.

The Women of Colour Group’s statement began, “The criminal injustice system in America systematically fails black people. The system repeatedly allows white police officers to murder with impunity. It denies black people employment, decent housing and education, and criminalises and marginalises black lives. It is a system built on the back of black slavery that pushes black people into poverty and prisons. It is a system under which you will serve more time in jail for protesting than you will for the murder of a black person.

“Michael Brown’s murder is not an exceptional case. Police brutality against black bodies happens every day — to people of colour of all genders, of all ages, of all intersecting op- pressions. Time and time again, justice is denied. The criminal injustice system in America is founded on white supremacy.”

The statement was also used to promote a protest on Saturday at noon on Cornmarket with the title, ‘Oxford in Solidarity with Ferguson: Black Lives Matter’. The event currently has around 700 attendees on its Facebook page, which describes itself as a “symbolic gesture of allyship and solidarity with the activists and protesters in Ferguson and across the U.S.”

Protestors are standing “as allies, activists, and supporters of wider radical anti-racism movements and struggles for the rights of people of colour around the world against violence, injustice, and systemic oppression.”

WomCam’s statement added, “We will not be silent. We will not allow this injustice to continue. Our solidarity is with the protestors of Ferguson and elsewhere — people all over the world who are subject to America’s racist imperial violence — when they refuse to be bowed.”

Merton’s Georgiana Jackson-Callen, of The Women of Colour Group, told Cherwell, “It’s not even the fact that there were no criminal charges: that would entail that a trial had actually taken place. Centuries of injustice leaves the Black community expecting the worst in a trial situation, but there won’t even be one. ‘Justice’.

“I am sick at the hashtags and articles co-opting and derailing Black pain. I am wondering how many so-called “colourblind” deniers I will have to interact with who cannot and will not see where the injustice is, or where it comes from, and will think this an overreaction.”

She added, “I am unable to get the thought of the same thing happening to the Black men and women I know and love out of my head. I am exhausted from living at the painful junction of two oppressions; I am longing for a lasting peace and justice that no earthly power can provide.” 

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