Tuesday, July 21, 2015

When Activism Is Worth the Risk

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 20th, 2015

Justin Hansford lives 10 minutes from Ferguson, Mo., where last summer a white policeman shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. The incident set off months of protests, as people from all walks of life took a stand against police brutality.
Mr. Hansford, an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University, just back from a conference in Washington, was among them. When he joined the law faculty at the university, in 2011, it never occurred to him to cast his causes aside: "I was an activist before I was a scholar, you could say."
In the months since the unrest in Ferguson, Mr. Hansford has become a well-known face in the Black Lives Matter movement. He has served as a legal observer during protests, was once arrested and jailed overnight, and was a key organizer of #FergusonToGeneva, a delegation that frames police violence in the United States as a human-rights issue worthy of global attention. Mr. Hansford and others in the group accompanied Michael Brown’s family to Geneva in November to testify before the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

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