UMKC students work to promote positive dialogue following Ferguson unrest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Almost three weeks after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., concerns still linger. Classes just resumed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and for some it was the first time they've seen their fellow students who are from the St. Louis area.

Students gathered Thursday night on campus for a rally to promote peace and awareness. There are many students at the school who are worried about their friends and family in St. Louis and Ferguson.

Some saw first-hand what happened in the days after Brown was shot, and the promoted a message of using words as opposed to violence.

“A lot of people were calling texting me when I was in St. Louis just making sure I was safe,” Danielle McFadden said.

McFadden was torn when it was time to return to class a UMKC, and she wasn't alone.

“A lot of us are from St. Louis, so it's something that a lot of us experienced before we came back to school, it was very hard for us to leave knowing that it was the way it was,” she said.

McFadden and fellow senior Carly Jones thought it was important to bring the Ferguson discussion to campus. They organized a program with speakers, one a student from Ferguson, as well as the campus police chief. The idea was to promote dialogue.

“We wanted a positive event to show that UMKC students care and we are here to support and we really wanted to make a difference,” Jones said.

Jones and McFadden were floored by the turnout, they didn't know what to expect. When the march began, they were overjoyed to see their fellow students getting involved. They want to see more involvement, but in a peaceful way.

“No more negativity we want everything to be peaceful, we want college students to understand they have a voice, they don’t have to resort to violence and things like that, it's have a voice, you have it use it,” McFadden said.

McFadden and Jones say this is just the first of many gatherings to come. With so much unknown and unresolved in Ferguson, she wants fellow students to have a place to use their voices.

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