The grand jury decisions in the police killings of Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO., and Eric Garner of Staten Island, NY, were the catalysts for insights, reflections, and next-step brainstorming as the NYU Wagner community came together for an open-mike forum on December 9 facilitated by Wagner students Simone Andrews and Quintin Haynes.
The conversation among nearly 100 students, staff, and faculty reflected not only the deep emotions that many have voiced on the New York University campus and across the country at demonstrations, die-ins, and tributes to the victims and their families, but an opportunity to discuss policy solutions, as well.
Haynes said he was pleased that so many of Wagner’s faculty and staff were present at the gathering, engendering a collaborative spirit with students.
In recent weeks, NYU Wagner’s Black Student Association (BSA) released a letter to the Ferguson City Council, offering recommendations for improving police/community relations, along with an open letter to the Wagner community underscoring the need for dialogue aimed at bringing about change that matters.
The BSA has been holding a series of “Tea Talks” on topics such as Ferguson’s rippling effect throughout America, and the obstacles to collaboration and mutual support facing us all.
The continuing outcry has a strong resonance for many people within the Wagner community, and events are now being scheduled for the spring semester to continue the conversation.