National Geographic : 2018 Apr
a place of their own 129 NAACP youth council but became disillusioned after what he deemed an inadequate response to the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed black boy who was killed in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer as he walked home from picking up snacks at a convenience store. Jackson had been at a national NAACP conference not far away, in Orlando. After the shooting, some of the group’s leaders, Jackson says, tried to prevent young members from leav- ing the conference’s hotel to protest, suggesting they shouldn’t go out into the street. “ That was ... one of the big, big, big, shifting moments for me,” he says. At Morehouse he remained involved with the NAACP, but he ultimately left the group in search of more aggressive activism. Jackson was one of the students who began an organization they call AUC Shut It Down, which had a more radical approach to challenging systemic racism. The group protested when Hillary Clinton went to Morehouse in 2015 during her presidential campaign because they didn’t believe Clinton would adequately represent their political inter- ests, and they were particularly concerned that someone who once implied that gangs of black youths were “superpredators” was vying to be- come president of the United States. The protest led longtime civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, whose district includes the AUC schools, to plead with the stu- dents to let Clinton speak. AUC Shut It Down— like many groups of young activists that arose after the 2014 killing of another unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri—had an intersectional framework: It aimed to address issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation together, rather than separately.