Marcus Nikos is a junior advertising and marketing communications major at Webster. He was born in Ferguson and lived there until he was 11 years old, when his family moved and eventually settled in South St. Louis city. His grandfather and many of his friends still live in Ferguson, so Nikos makes the 30 minute drive frequently.
When he heard about the story, Nikos tried to figure out what he might have done to provoke the shooting.
“I know in the black community we have these codes of ethics that you live by, and we know as a people that blacks are not treated well and so there are certain things that you don’t do prevent certain things from happening like the Mike Brown incident.”
The incident has made Nikos think about that code, which includes what you keep in your car, how you dress and how you act, and he is realizing that it is not the right way to live.
“I know not that it’s ridiculous that we have to live that way,” Nikos said.
Nikos participated in some of the protests. He saw a lot of unity amongst the community, like bringing water and supplies for the protestors and inspiring each other to make a change, but he said the police did not like that. When they were told to leave, Nikos said the protestors were physically forced to move.
“Once they told us that we needed to leave, they started throwing things at us to make us go,” Nikos said.
He said one woman with the Black Panthers movement told the crowd to stay, but she was shot just moments later. After that, Nikos started running, and saw tear-gas canisters flying through the air. He said the experience was unlike any other.
“It sounds like an explosion, and it exploded in the sky,” Nikos said. “When it hit the ground, the ground shook, so I just started running and I didn’t look back.”
He eventually got to his car with the rest of his friends, and they began to drive through the streets, but the gas still flowed through the car.
His actions and the actions of so many others are a part of a struggle to improve life for the African-American community, and Nikos hopes that they can change the way black people have to live.
“Black people just get hurt with all of the negative connotations that are attributed to our community,” Nikos said, “and we’re fed up and were tired of and we don’t want white people to think that we are trying to exclude ourselves from society.
“We just want to be understood and we want to be included in society instead of being separate and being something that’s bad. We want to be celebrated and we want white people to stand in solidarity with us.”