This Week In PR | No. 9 #Ferguson

Though there are always many public relations fiascoes to share, this is another week where it seems more appropriate to focus on one major issue that, believe it or not, impacts us all.

On Saturday, August 9th, Mike Brown, an 18-year-old Ferguson resident, was shot down by a police officer. Though some details of the altercation between the two are still fuzzy, it is clear from witnesses on both sides that there was a physical scuffle before Brown was shot 10 ten times, though his arms were raised above his head prior to being killed. Unfortunately, the cops and eyewitnesses tell two completely different stories as to what led to this tragedy.

Since the shooting of the unarmed, college-bound student, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and the nation, have been in an uproar, both on the streets and on social media.

In Ferguson, many peaceful protesters joined together in a vigil to remember Brown earlier this week. However, police were sent to disperse the crowds and soon, the peaceful protests quickly morphed into looting and rioting. Ferguson police responded by throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets at civilians, most of which were the peaceful protesters.

In response to the media’s interpretation of Ferguson events, many young, African American students took to social media using #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, a hashtag used to start a conversation about how black people are often portrayed in the media. The hashtags #MikeBrown and #Ferguson have also seen traction on social media as a means to share up-to-date information with the public about the developments in Ferguson since some major news outlets are misreporting stories.

Unfortunately, the events in Ferguson show no sign of slowing down and people are starting to take action. This past Wednesday students at Howard University, a notable Historically Black College or University (HBCU), shot a powerful photo featuring hundreds of young, black men and women with their hands raised in surrender. The following day, even more supporters came out for National Moment of Silence vigils held in major cities across the country. In our own city of Philadelphia, hundreds of people stood in solidarity at Love Park to show their support. Though issues in Ferguson still rage on, hopefully their citizens feel comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

UPDATE | After widespread public outcry, this morning the name was finally released  of the police officer who shot Brown: Darren Wilson. Wilson is a 6-year veteran with no previous incidents on his record.

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