Youth Peacemaker Award 2015
Bereans for Michael Brown
Bereans for Michael Brown is a group founded by two Berea College students, Anna Loveless and Quentin Savage, in early fall 2014 in response to and solidarity with demonstrations in Ferguson Missouri protesting Michael Brown’s shooting death by police officer, Darren Wilson. After an initial trip to Ferguson in early September, Savage returned to Berea and began organizing a student caravan to St. Louis for the Weekend of Resistance (October 10-13). Eight Bereans -- Erin Gibbons, Molefi Hopkin-Peters, Ms. Monica Jones, Anna Loveless, Quentin Savage, Logan Smith, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, and Olivia Welch -- made the trip. Hopkin-Peters, Savage, and Smith were arrested for engaging in a sit-in at a Quik Trip gas station on October 12.
After returning from St. Louis, they continued to raise awareness and recruit additional students on campus by canvassing and sponsoring classroom walk-outs organized by different students (Candice King, Azizi Morris, Whitney Owens). The group also traveled to Lexington on several occasions to participate in rallies, marches, and die-ins organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network – KY group.
In early December Anna Loveless organized a 4.5-minute street blockade in front of Boone Tavern and Quentin Savage set up a 4.5-minute Die-In in the lobby of Boone Tavern to broaden the awareness that Black Lives Matter with wealthy Tavern patrons. (These 4.5-minute periods commemorate the 4.5 hours that Mike Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed.) This semester they “Died-In” at the Black Lives Matter convocation (complete with compliments from the convocation speaker).
Bereans for Michael Brown is currently unofficially recognized by Berea College, but the group is in the process of becoming an official campus organization to continue its work when core members graduate. Plans are developing for a month-long campus campaign called “March Against Mass Incarceration” designed to inform and empower those at the college about the devastating joint-impact of the War on Drugs, Mass Incarceration, and the Prison-Industrial Complex. The group hopes this program will be soon be adopted by EKU and UK to become a regional initiative.
Other members and entities who have worked with the group in different ways include: The Black Cultural Center at Berea, The Carter G Woodson Center at Berea, Professor Andrew Baskin, our College Dean, Chad Berry, Dr. Steve Gowler, Steven Hall, Becca Halpryn, Faith Jones, Dr. Meta Mendel-Reyes, and Will Mendoza.
Here is a video of the Berea College Convocation Die-In.