Ferguson, Missouri is still healing, and it needs support.
Image via Ferguson ASB Tumblr
It’s been six months since the death of Mike Brown. Four since the Columbus Day weekend protests. Three and a half since the acquittal of Darren Wilson and the upheaval that followed. Ferguson Missouri is still healing, and it needs support. This spring, college students from around the country will trek to Ferguson to participate in a community service-based alternative spring break. Ferguson ASB, organized by Operation Help or Hush, will provide students with food, housing and service activities as well as workshops and town halls with local leaders, organizers, activists, and scholars. The hope is that college students and the Ferguson community will both benefit from the experience.
“When you have a person extend a gesture, getting on a plane and coming 3,000 miles, when you have someone get in their car and drive ten hours, there's something warm and fuzzy about that,” organizer Charles Wade told the Riverfont Times. “When you say, ‘The whole world is watching, the whole world cares,’ it's not just hyperbole. It's the truth.” (Wade is also the force behind activist portrait series Faces of the Movement.)
Up to 100 students will help local businesses rebuild and sort through the often overwhelming amount of donations they just don't have the manpower to process. They will perform voter outreach, registering local voters and reminding them that April’s municipal elections are crucial to healing and progress. Additionally, protest pros will instill in volunteers the lessons they’ve learned over the past six months, namely how to be a political observer and remain vigilant for human rights violations at the hands of law enforcement. Most importantly, organizers hope to instill in ASB-ers the tools and passion for advocacy, something which they can then take home and apply to their own communities.
In conjunction with Webster University, Ferguson Youth Initiative, Youth Activists United of STL, Freedom Fighters, and STL Students in Solidarity Ferguson ASB will bring various waves of students to the city through March and early April. Registration for Ferguson Alternative Spring Break ends February 25.
Also noteable: The program requests applicants’ preferred gender pronouns on the registration form. Now, that’s a lot of progress.