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#HandsUpWalkout: Ferguson Supporters Nationwide Stage Protest on Anniversary of Rosa Parks' Act of Defiance

On the anniversary of one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights movement, protesters staged a nationwide walkout demanding justice for Mike Brown.
Image via Ferguson Action Team

Ferguson protesters staged a nationwide walkout Monday, demanding justice for slain teen Michael Brown and an end to police brutality and racism. The demonstrations coincided with the 59th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a segregated Alabama bus, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement.

"Nearly 60 years ago today, Rosa Parks engaged in a simple act of civil disobedience that set the stage for a movement against anti-black racism," organizers behind the collective action wrote in an email to supporters on Monday. "Rosa Parks showed the world that meaningful actions by ordinary people can make all the difference. She took huge risks for justice. Will you?"


People across the country started walking off their jobs and leaving classes when the clock struck 12:01pm in Ferguson — the time of Brown's death.

The protest drew large crowds in some cities, especially around college campuses, where students also staged "die-ins," laying on the ground and drawing body outlines on the streets with chalk. Protesters also observed four-and-a-half minutes of silence, a tribute to the more than four hours that Brown's body was left in the street.

In St. Louis, the torch of the civil rights struggle is passed to a new guard. Read more here.

Hundreds of people, many in high school, standing in center of Harvard Square. 'Hands up don't shoot.' — Jess Bidgood (@jessbidgood)December 1, 2014

Yale students in 4.5 minutes of silence for the 4.5 hours Michael Browns body was left in the street. — Yonas Takele (@yonastakele817)December 1, 2014

It is our duty to fight! — Tiffany (@MsFlowersTweets)December 1, 2014

TODAY! 1:01PM EST, 10:01AM PSTShow Solidarity With — Lnonblonde (@Lnonblonde)December 1, 2014

It's on! '— Ferguson Action (@fergusonaction)December 1, 2014

Students, faculty & staff participate in 4.5 minutes of silence; body outlines drawn in chalk — The AJC Center (@AJCCenter)December 1, 2014

Couldn't even fit everyone into the room!! Ppl out in the doorway/sidewalk. — Jack. Attack. (@jaykayG)December 1, 2014

Journalist getting arrested by NYPD at — NYCLU (@NYCLU)December 1, 2014


Videos show Ferguson protesters across the US wreaking havoc on Black Friday. Watch here.

On December 1, 1955 Parks, who was a member of the local NAACP chapter, refused to give a white passenger her seat on bus in Montgomery, Alabama — one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights struggle.

As the protests over Brown's death in Ferguson grew larger and louder, many started drawing comparisons to the '60s civil rights movement. Organizers dubbed a series of actions "moral Monday," a reference to the civil rights tradition.

From Freedom Riders to — Shaun King (@ShaunKing)December 1, 2014

Rev. Mike McBride, a California-based pastor and member of PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations that have been working in Ferguson since August, spoke to VICE News about the evolving civil rights struggle.

"As Tef Poe and others say regularly, this civil rights movement is not your mom and dad's civil rights movement," McBride said in August, referencing the St. Louis rapper who has become a leader of the Ferguson protests. "Every generation must re-appropriate the lessons of the past, the experience of their elders, and they must then make it relevant for the time in which we live."

After a group of young protesters criticized the NAACP for its passivity in Ferguson, McBride said that young people are building on the organization's legacy.

"And we should allow them to build, we should help them to build, but we should by no rate abandon them," McBride said.


On Saturday, the NAACP launched another action connecting the Ferguson struggle to the traditions of the civil rights movement — a week-long march from Ferguson to Jefferson City, Missouri's capital.  The march is part of the organization's "Journey for Justice" initiative.

About 250 marchers left from Canfield Drive, in Ferguson, where Brown was killed, and marchers plan to pick up supporters along the 120-mile journey.

NAACP — Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL)November 29, 2014

— john zangas (@johnzangas)December 1, 2014

In photos: a day after grand jury announcement, Ferguson protests rage on.

Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi