Students in Power host forum


Students gather in MS-451 to participate in the student-led forum Sept. 30. Photo credit: Miguel Cid

Miguel Cid

With tension still high in Ferguson, Mo., City College club Students in Power hosted an open forum to discuss police brutality, the judicial system, the prison system and how the forces operate towards LGBT individuals and people of color.

“This wasn’t just another shooting but it was once again regarding systematic racism, racial profiling and police brutalization targeting people of color,” said Stephanie Meraz, referencing the recent shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson in August. Meraz was the first speaker and is a Students in Power member.

To start the dialogue, a turnout of around 30 people met in MS-451 on Sept. 30. They formed a circle so that those in attendance could see each other eye-to-eye.

There were four different student speakers and members of the club who introduced information. Following each speech was a period of discussion for attendees to voice their opinions on the issues presented.


Statistics were presented dealing with the number of black men in the United States that will most likely go to prison in their lifetime, compared to Latino and white men.

One speaker shared, “One in every three black men will go to prison compared to white, in which one in every 17 will go.”

Student speaker Eden covered the pros and cons of Proposition 47, a measure that would ease sentencing for certain low-level offenses.

An older woman pointed out that the previously incarcerated often fall victim to a cycle, saying that, “Once they get out, they can’t get any jobs or help, so they eventually go back in.”

Members from various groups and organizations took part, along with a pair of professors from City College.

Tony Perez, a member from Students in Power, commented on the reason behind the club’s decision to host the event.

“What the club was looking to do was to provide a space for students to talk about the systematic inequalities that exist in our society today and lead to the Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Gardner murders that we are witnessing today,” said Perez.

Perez also stated that the club hoped to add to the discussion and help students find some sort of platform to get involved in the movement against police brutality, one of which included a national day of protest to stop police brutality which took place on Oct. 22.

Other issues included holding facilities for the undocumented, overcrowding in prisons, zero tolerance for the youth in schools and the amount of funding that has gone into prisons compared to how much is going into education.

The forum lasted for about an hour and concluded after a discussion with the attendees about what can be done on a ground level. One student suggested opening a center on campus to help aid those who’ve previously been convicted with school.

Students in Power meets every Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. in MS-440.