Death of Dayne Jones spurs controversy

"My baby": 24 year old Dayne Jones was lynched in his own backyard. This stemmed to the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, MO.

Dayne Jones, son of a Ferguson activist, was found hanged from a tree Oct. 17 in Ferguson, Missouri. Jones’ body was found by his mother, Melissa McKinnies.

McKinnies broke the news, posting on Facebook saying “they lynched my baby.”

This event stirred controversy because police ruled Jones’ death as a suicide. What doesn’t make sense to the community is the timeliness of the death and what has occurred since the death of Michael Brown in August 2014.

The spark that led to the Black Lives Matter movement started on the day that Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson. This movement set off a series of violent clashes that are still ongoing to this day and involve cities that are predominantly African-American. 

The Ferguson community also encountered other mysterious deaths similar to Dayne Jones where there was no culprit, the police telling one side of the story, but the community knowing another.

In 2014, 20-year-old Deandre Joshua was found shot in the head, then set on fire in his car the same day that the grand jury decided officer Darren Wilson was not guilty or punishable for the death of Michael Brown.

“Just because the law says something, doesn’t mean that it’s true. Just because the law says that we’re equal doesn’t mean we’re really equal. We’re always in defense mode. It’s just our normal now,” said Chrissy Johnson, freshman biology major. “You have to start with other people’s mindsets [and] get them to understand a fraction of what minorities are going through.”

Another Ferguson activist, Darren Seals, was also found dead inside a car in 2016. Starting what seems like a long battle for change that continues today. 

“There’s always someone who’s in charge of something, so if I have issues I seek out the minority that’s in higher positions so that you have the support of someone who [is] in higher stance but who is also a minority. They know what you’re talking about and they know where you’re coming from,” said Ash Cusionberry, freshman music education major.

One way many minorities, including Johnson and Cusionberry, have their voices heard and understood is to look toward the people representing the minorities and having people in power that understand the struggle and guide people towards a peaceful and less violent resolution.

The Black Lives Matter movement focuses on affirming the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled, undocumented, people with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum, according to the Black Lives Matter website.

This movement focuses on the rights that African-Americans living in the U.S. are not systematically targeted for demise. The people that don’t support the movement are also the people that don’t understand that we live in a world where everything changes within five years.

McKinnies chooses to use the death of her son to continue protesting and bringing up continued issues within the U.S. She’s also always trying to take the next step forward, even though she and minorities are in a system that only wants to move backward.

“Love is a natural kind of thing, but hate is taught. Nobody’s born racist. Change has always started with the younger generation, that’s a step to persuading those who are older,” Cushionberry said.