For months, every TV station and newspaper has had the words “Ferguson” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” crawling across screens and splashed across front pages. Pictures of riots and looters no longer come as a shock — they’re expected.
We’ve seen it time and time again since the initial incident in Ferguson: the irate faces of people who feel so passionately about what they’re fighting for that they turn to violence and destruction.
But we’ve also seen people turn against them, regardless of their take on the message. People are far more willing to listen to a discussion, not people yelling at them. Seeing a constructive platform motivates people to join a cause.
The rioting in the streets in Ferguson, Missouri have not been constructive. Have the protesters gotten their message across? Yes, but at what cost? People are suffering and the rest of the country sees it as raucous and unproductive.
A lack of planning leads to chaos. But there wasn’t chaos in Columbia, South Carolina Tuesday night when USC students protested the happenings in Ferguson.
Tuesday night’s events were planned and organized. The protest didn’t turn into a riot, and the forum didn’t turn into a verbal — or physical — brawl.
Both were constructive.
The mass did begin to chant when they neared the end of the protest, but the entire night was incredibly peaceful, the chant included. Hundreds of students walked in silence to the Statehouse. They read poems. They spoke with one another about what they were thinking, feeling and anticipating.
But here’s what we think is the most amazing part: at the end of the forum held before the march and protest, students talked about how they could make a difference. It wasn’t a venting session where people came to air their grievances — it was a conversation about change. It was a chance for people for formulate a plan instead of flying by the seats of their pants and turning to violence.
Few headlines contain the words “Ferguson” and “peaceful.” Thank you, USC students, for allowing us to write one.