Lack of indictment in Ferguson spawns protests in Connecticut

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NEW BRITAIN--When the announcement came that a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson on any of the five possible charges in the death of Michael Brown, it was another blow to blacks worldwide, according to Dori Dumas, the president of the NAACP's Greater New Haven chapter.

"We have made progress," said Dumas. "But things like this keeps reminding us and our youth that maybe their lives are not valued."

Last night's events in Ferguson spawned a new organization on the Central Connecticut State University campus. It's called CHANGE, an acronym for caring humanity as new generations emerge.

A group of roughly a dozen students invited others on campus to join their cause during a protest this afternoon in front of the school's student center.

Late last night, five hours after the grand jury decision was revealed, fire alarms were pulled in every dorm on CCSU's campus. That, of course, brought students together outdoors in what one student says was a great opportunity for everyone to come together and talk about what happened in Missouri.

"In three years at Central, last night was the first time I felt proud of being a Blue Devil," said one male student.

"This is more than just one incident, one person that dealt with this," said a female student. "This is eating into our black communities."

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told student protesters that Connecticut is doing its best to foster better relationships through community policing, in both Waterbury and New Haven. Murphy and New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker crafted a bill that would tackle racial disparities within the criminal justice system for children.

Murphy says black children are disciplined differently than white children for similar offenses. In fact, he says black children are expelled at a rate twice that of their white children.

Demonstrators gathered in protest in New Haven, too.

"You can shoot up a whole movie theater in Colorado and be taken in alive," said Doron Blake of New Haven. "But if you're a black kid with Skittles in your pocket, you know, you get shot. If you're a kid who took $50 worth cigarillos, you get shot. It's too much,"

Also on Tuesday night, a two-hour vigil was held inside Center Church in Hartford. More than 100 community members sang, prayed and held a moment of silence for their Ferguson brothers and sisters.

"I personally think it's time for conversation and reconciliation. It's time to bring people together to the table," said Rev. Damaris Whittaker, a minister at Center Church.

The event was a stark contrast to the fires, gunshots and lootings that dominated the Missouri landscape on Monday night following the announcement concerning Officer Wilson.

The peaceful Northeast crowd wasn't without anger, though. "Over and over and over and over and over and over again, a brother can't get a break in this country it seems," said Bishop John Selders, speaking in front of the crowd.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he much prefers these peaceful protests over riots. "That only brings about more violence, and that's not helpful to the community, so I'm very pleased for this congregation coming together as a community to express anger, but do it in a way that leads to positive change," Segarra said.

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