'Hands Up, Don't Shoot': UNCW students rally against police brut - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

'Hands Up, Don't Shoot': UNCW students rally against police brutality

On Thursday night, dozens held a vigil for Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last month. (Source: WECT) On Thursday night, dozens held a vigil for Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last month. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Hands up, don't shoot.

That was the message and the hashtag used by more than 50 students and staff at UNC Wilmington.

Dozens held a vigil Thursday for Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last month. Organizers, however, said that Thursday's event was about more than just Brown's incident.

Dozens of Seahawk students and staff held their hands up, like they believe Brown did, as a symbol of peace.

The message was to raise awareness for all victims of what they consider to be police brutality.

The vigil was hosted by the UNCW Black Student Union and the Upperman African American Cultural Center.

"It's hurtful because a lot of these people are our age," said Taylor Abrams, the Vice President of the Black Student Union. "I'm a 21-year-old and it's sad because people don't really understand. They say to themselves 'It's just an event, it's just one kid,' but it's not just one kid, its multiple kids that are all affected by police brutality."

One by one, organizers read off a list of names, while 40 candles light the night sky, symbolizing 40 different victims.

Ferguson, Missouri has been the main focus of rallies like this with thousands of protestors and nationwide conversations on police brutality and racial profiling.

Thursday's vigil on campus was designed to encourage reflection on historical incidents of police violence, particularly against young black males.

"We are affected by this and we're hurt by this. We just want to shed light on that and we want people to understand that," Abrams said. "We're not harmful, we're not violent, and we're not angry. We just want people to know it's still an active problem. It's still an issue."

The UNCW Black Student Union says they plan to hold even more events in the future, hoping to create change along the way.

If you want to weigh in on the issue of police brutality, go on Twitter and tell us what you think using #HandsUpDontShoot.

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