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MU Alum Lauren Brown Reflects on Black Mizzou in Audio Documentary

David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
MU Journalism alum Lauren Brown explores the setting and context behind the 2015 protests in a new APM audio documentary.

When student-led protests erupted at the University of Missouri in 2015, first-year student Lauren Brown didn’t feel like the causes of the demonstrators were accurately reflected in the media.

Now, Brown is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate and a St. Louis Public Radio producer whose new audio documentaryfor American Public Media's "APM Reports" explores the setting and the context behind the 2015 protests. The documentary, called “Black At Mizzou: Confronting Race on Campus," is narrated and produced by Brown, who also worked as a student producer at KBIA. 

“The stories I've seen in the news make it seem like a couple of bad things happened out of nowhere, then there were protests and things went back to normal,” Brown says in the documentary. “But that's not what I saw. I saw students put their grace on the line, their jobs, their reputations, so they could tell people what was really going on at their school.”

Brown spoke with KBIA’s Janet Saidi on The Check-In about her experience as a student during the protests, and the importance of Black Mizzou. When asked to define Black Mizzou, Brown described it as “a campus within a campus, it's a community that we built with each other [...] a family of people that you can depend on, and you know that they can depend on you.”

Brown also speaks with Concerned Student 1950 organizer Payton Head in the documentary, and the two discuss their feelings that racial issues at MU were downplayed, and that many news outlets were focussing the racism on campus when they should have been addressing the larger issues of racism across the country.

“This isn't just a college campus thing, this isn't just a university thing, this is something that Black people face every day,” Brown said on The Check-In. 

Brown, now graduated and working as a producer at St. Louis Public Radio, hopes that Black students will continue to find community with each other.

“I would give [new students] the advice of: Own who you are, own your blackness, and don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.”

You can find Lauren’s documentary on St. Louis Public Radio's website, where you can also listen to her podcast We Live Here.

Janet Saidi is a producer and professor at KBIA and the Missouri School of Journalism.