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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis-area students lead Black Lives Matter youth protest

Students and supporters call for racial justice as they march toward St. Louis Metropolitan Police headquarters on Olive Street. (May 19, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Students and supporters call for racial justice as they march toward St. Louis Metropolitan Police headquarters on Olive Street.

Students in St. Louis raised their voices on Saturday morning to protest racial profiling and systemic police violence against African-Americans.

More than 50 people attended the Black Lives Matter youth protest in downtown St. Louis. Police cars flanked the marchers as they walked down the center of Olive Street to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, chanting and carrying signs with slogans like “Students for Black Lives” and “Don’t Shoot.”

Students take part in a die-in to remember people killed by St. Louis police last year.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Students take part in a die-in to remember people killed by St. Louis police last year.

Truman State University junior Rachel Fechter said the protest was intended to draw more attention to the broad range of ways that racial disparities impact people in the St. Louis region.

“Race determines access to education, access to healthy food and who gets punished and who doesn’t,” said Fechter. “I would like to make people aware that this is still an issue, there are still these disparities.”

Co-organizer Devin Corley leads a chant while marching down Olive Street. (May 19, 2018)
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Co-organizer Devin Corley leads a chant while marching down Olive Street.

Several student marchers said they had attended the March for Our Lives rally earlier this year, including Crossroads College Preparatory School junior Malaika Ferguson.

Ferguson, who spoke at the March for Our Lives event, said efforts to reform gun legislation and police brutality are closely linked.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed speaks to students outside SLMP headquarters. (May 19, 2018)
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed speaks to students outside SLMP headquarters.

“The two issues of March for Our Lives and Black Lives Matter are almost the same issue, except that black lives are targeted way more,” Ferguson said. “We need to support all causes.”

The students say they will continue to organize and demand reform of the criminal justice system in St. Louis.

Follow Shahla on Twitter: @ShahlaFarzan

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