Update: Tulane, Loyola students march in protest following Ferguson decision

Update [2:53 a.m.]: More than 100 students marched on campus Monday night in student-led protest of a grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Loyola University New Orleans junior Etefia Umana, a Ferguson native, began the protest at approximately 10 p.m. on Loyola’s campus.

“I was frustrated because I wasn’t there, and I wasn’t protesting,” Umana said.

It began organically when Umana said he gathered about 15 people and started walking around. He said he was surprised to see what it built into shortly after.

“Real recognized real, I guess, and [other people] joined on,” Umana said. “It’s beautiful.”

Protestors chanted several phrases as they walked, including “I am Mike Brown, You are Mike Brown, We are Mike Brown,” “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace.”

Loyola freshman Kat Thatcher said she saw the protest around 11:30 p.m. and decided to join minutes later.

“When we heard about the verdict, we were just shocked, and to see that people were as moved as we were, we thought we should join, too,” Thatcher said.

Umana led the protestors across Loyola’s campus and then Tulane University’s grounds to the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, where police kept the students from entering until they agreed to go inside silently.

{{tncms-asset app=”editorial” id=”e26bab8c-747e-11e4-9fc3-772939251eac”}}

Loyola sophomore Maeve Guillory, III said he noticed the protest while he was studying in the Monroe Library at Loyola.

“I was like, ‘What the f*** am I doing in the library … doing my homework on a MacBook being a perfect middle-class wage slave?’” Guillory said.

The students entered Howard-Tilton with their hands held up, climbed to the fourth story and silently circled the floor, keeping their hands high, before they returned to the first floor and left.

{{tncms-asset app=”editorial” id=”50f7317a-747f-11e4-ac79-27846444f1bc”}}

“People will say that this protest means awareness or talking about the issues, and maybe it’s a political talking point, but for me, this is my life,” Guillory said.

The students proceeded down McAlister Drive where they paired up and drew chalk outlines of each other’s bodies as representation of Michael Brown.

{{tncms-asset app=”editorial” id=”2af4fb74-747f-11e4-942f-639a9c01d79b”}}

Tulane senior Cara Zajac attended a protest in Congo Square before she joined the march on Tulane’s campus outside the library after seeing posts covering it on Twitter.

“As someone who’s not a person of color and does not have to handle the systematic and institutional oppression that people of color do, I’m trying to use what space I have to serve as … someone who brings attention to an issue a lot of people [say] does not exist,” Zajac said.

{{tncms-asset app=”editorial” id=”0de27552-747f-11e4-a82a-7b644ea4308e”}}

The protest ended around 2:30 a.m. outside the Lavin-Bernick Center.

“Both our universities have these messages of being committed to social justice, and we have to hold them accountable,” Umana said. “This is the moment to hold them accountable.”