A simple picture, taken during a Wednesday night gathering at Howard University, has gone viral -- and for good reason.
Hundreds of wide-eyed students stand with their arms raised and palms extended, staring solemnly at the camera. A hashtag in the Twitter caption reads, "Don't shoot."
The photo is a response to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed young black man in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month, and the shooting of Mya White, a Howard University alumna, who reportedly was shot in the head in Ferguson as she protested Brown's treatment.
(Story continues below.)
— Megan Sims (@The_Blackness48) August 14, 2014
Their pose is a nod to reports of Brown's posture before he was shot to death. According to eyewitness Dorian Johnson, Brown had turned to face the officer with his hands in the air, but was gunned down before he could finish telling the officer he was unarmed.
"I hope people look at the picture and see that the issue is bigger than Mike Brown, bigger than Eric Garner, bigger than so many other young blacks killed by the police,” Megan Sims, a junior at Howard, told BuzzFeed. “This issue is about the fact that this country is not post-racial, this country is not just, this country is not free.”
"We had the option to opt out of the picture, but I chose to get involved because this is a very close issue to my heart,” Sims added.
Sims told Mother Jones the group in the photo had originally assembled for a meeting on the freshmen move-in process; they took the photo after realizing "we needed to respond to the Mike Brown issue."
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014