Grand Jury Decisions in Ferguson, New York Spark Conversation About Race At UW

Dec 15, 2014

Protesters filled Simpson Plaza in front of the University of Wyoming last Thursday. They were calling for an end to police brutality and racism, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Protesters and observers had a variety of viewpoints:

UW protestors raise their signs as a crowd of onlookers gathers.
Credit Caroline Ballard

For one student, protests concerning police brutality and race hit close to home – literally.  Brian Hill is African American. He’s a freshman at UW and plays on the school’s football team. He’s also originally from East St. Louis, just across the river from Ferguson, Missouri. I reached out to him, to hear about his experiences since moving to Wyoming.

Students and community members protest police brutality and racism at the UW's Simpson Plaza.
Credit Caroline Ballard

Not every black student has the same experience at the University of Wyoming – not even every athlete. Keenan Montgomery, a UW football player and English major reads his poem “My Black Experience”.

Finally, here's a student-produced documentary film exploring race issues at the University of Wyoming.

The Black West from Canaan Hurst on Vimeo.