A photo taken by Howard University students has gone viral due to its powerful message in response to the shooting of unarmed black teen Mike Brown, 18, last Saturday.
Students at the historically black institution in Washington, D.C., came together in a nonviolent protest titled “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” with hundreds of students of color standing up with their arms raised, as Brown reportedly had done. According to witnesses, the 18-year-old put his hands up as he walked away from a police car following an altercation with cops on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, but he was still deemed aggressive. A police officer shot Brown, resulting in his death, and the authorities have refused to release the officer’s name.
The photo taken at the event, captioned, “Howard University takes a stand for justice! #BisonNation #DontShoot #HU,” was posted on Instagram and has since gone viral.
Witnesses have said the unidentified officer, now on leave, was white, making the case similar to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by volunteer community watchman George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012.
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Since Brown’s death, the mostly black St. Louis suburb has become an area of contention, as people have been expressing their outrage through both nonviolent protests and riots.
On Tuesday, President Obama released an official statement about the recent shooting, expressing condolences and urging calm in Brown's suburban St. Louis community. He said, in part, “The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time… We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”