Protests continue while athletes kneel and new travel ban takes affect

Protests+continue+while+athletes+kneel+and+new+travel+ban+takes+affect

graphic by Becca Newton

Local

Know: Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson released the Stockley verdict, Sept. 15. By the end of that day, Northbound and Southbound Kingshighway had closures, the National Guard was on standby, several downtown businesses sent employees home early and schools postponed afterschool events. Protests started later that day in downtown St. Louis and Central West End. Saturday morning protests began at Heman Park in University City, and continued that day ranging from the Taste of St. Louis, to the Chesterfield and West County Malls. Later that night the protests moved to the Delmar Loop. As police arrived at the scene, protesters began to vandalize businesses and cars by throwing rocks, bricks and water bottles filled with paint thinner or gasoline. A total of nine arrests were made at the scene, as the police announced that the assembly was no longer lawful. As protests to the Stockley verdict continued into day eight, the arrest count increased to 123 as police officers tied up, pepper-sprayed and arrested journalists, an air force lieutenant, an undercover police officer, a med student and residents of the St. Louis region alike during protests by Busch Stadium, Sept. 17.

Inform: Reporters from around the country are in St. Louis documenting the protests after the Stockley verdict, in which Judge Wilson found Jason Stockley not guilty of first degree murder of Anthony Smith. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported the arrest stories of 14 people, many of whom were not even protesting. The American Civil Liberties Union is now suing the city of St. Louis over their alleged misconduct towards protesters.

Care: Protesting is by its very nature a democratic act. The right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances are two of the five freedoms established by the First Amendment. However, the difference between a protest rally and a riot can be one rock thrown. Walking that line are the police and other law enforcement. St. Louisans have witnessed when the sunsets and objects begin to fly with the protests after Michael Brown’s death and the riots of Ferguson. Change starts with each citizen, and the ability to express the desire for change is so important that the Founding Father’s guaranteed it in the Constitution. Professional athletes have chosen to express their desire for change by kneeling or absenting themselves from “The Star Spangled Banner.” Take this poll and vote your conscience.

National

Know: Players in the National Basketball Association and the National Football League are refusing to stand during the performance of the national anthem at sporting events to protest the inequity and institutionalized racism they see in America.

Inform: President Donald Trump responded to the acts of protest through Twitter stating that they were not “acceptable” for the country. Instead of allowing freedom of expression, he called for owners to fire protesters. Colin Kaepernick started this movement over a year ago by refusing to stand during the national anthem when serving as the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Since then, NFL teams have not signed him.

Care: Employees of private corporations like the ones that own these teams are not government agencies are not required to honor First Amendment rights in the workplace. Knowing one’s rights and their limitations may determine one’s future success.

International

Know: Trump released a new order banning nearly all travel to the United States from seven countries, most of which were included in his original travel ban.

Inform: As the existing travel ban expires, Trump has issued a new travel ban barring citizens from Syria, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, Yemen, Libya and Iran to enter the United States starting next month, Oct. 18. Citizens from Iraq and Venezuela will also have higher restrictions and security as they try to enter the country. With recent terror attacks in the U.S. and other countries, if a nation isn’t able to meet security standards for all of their citizens, passengers from that country will not be allowed to come into the U.S. If a nation is not on “good terms” with the U.S. and creates conflict, citizens from there won’t be able to come either. Even people with expired visas will be checked with the exception of student and exchange visas. After months of deliberation between the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the White House and other agencies, the new restrictions adopt an it’s better to be safe rather to be sorry approach.

Care: As America and its citizens struggle with the First Amendment, global warming, equity and immigration, the nation’s leaders politics and behaviors influence its citizens. Americans are determining each day what kind of society they want to live in. Americans are not alone. Germany just voted Angela Merkel into her fourth term as prime minister after a campaign full of anti-outsider rhetoric. Although Muslims are being targeted as terrorists, less than one percent of Muslims living within a population are at risk of becoming an extremist. The lack of exposure of one another can essentially act as a catalyst to their radical beliefs. Building a community that consists of fear and prejudice makes those who come from diverse cultures more isolated. Actions taken by representatives of society influence its members. The path to peace and moving forward, requires building a sense of community.