Howard University doctoral student is trying to organize bus trip to attend Ferguson rally

A Howard University graduate student is trying to raise funds to charter a bus from Washington, D.C. to Ferguson, Mo., to attend a rally on Saturday for an unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by police.

Lauren Chanel Allen, 24, who is working on her doctorate degree in social psychology, said she has raised $1,450 in donations and bus fares to charter a bus to the rally. But she needs $8,000 by Friday morning to make the trip happen, so she has turned to GoFundMe, the crowdfunding site.

The shooting of teenager Michael Brown, the daily marches, rallies, and unrest has sparked a wide range of responses across the country.

A photo of a group of Howard undergrad students with their hands raised and accompanied by the hashtag #DONTSHOOT went viral. Students, members of the Occupy movement and the hacker group Anonymous have traveled to Ferguson as well to join in the marches.

Allen, who minored in African American history as an undergraduate, said she came up with the idea of going to Ferguson after watching the unrest in the St. Louis suburb grow. She sent a tweet to her 944 Twitter followers asking if anyone would be interested in taking a bus to Ferguson to show support. Several of her friends encouraged her and agreed to join her on the bus.

She said the bus trip will be reminiscent of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s. “I love the idea of civil disobedience,” Allen said.

Twenty-nine people had signed up for the for the $40 per person bus ride by Wednesday evening. Some who had made reservations are coming from as far as Boston and Connecticut.

“The people of Ferguson have been rallying for two weeks now, but we want them to know it’s not just them in this fight,” Allen said. “The nation cares. The world is looking. We want to be present and show them their fight is real.”

Allen said that if she is unable to secure the remaining funds for the bus, the money will be donated to Brown’s family.

But, she added, she was “confident” she would be able to raise the money and even possibly secure a second bus. Each bus holds 55 people. The 14-hour bus ride includes two drivers.

“We’re really passionate about this,” Allen says. Allen says the bus is scheduled to leave Friday at 7 p.m. and scheduled to arrive in Ferguson for the march by 9 a.m. Saturday, which is the scheduled start time. The bus is then scheduled to return to the District Saturday evening after the rally.

Those interested in additional information can check Allen’s Eventbrite page

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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