*Update: This story has been updated to include the new NAACP meeting time at Harris-Stowe State University.
COLUMBIA — Red ribbons, lighted candles and decorated signs were held by about 100 MU students, staff and residents who gathered Thursday evening at Speakers Circle to observe a moment of silence for Michael Brown.
Columbia was just one of more than 90 locations across the nation where people gathered for a vigil Thursday night in remembrance of the unarmed teenager shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.
Through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the National Moment of Silence 2014 web pages asked cities across the United States to join together in silence and solidarity for victims of police brutality.
Three MU students, Naomi Daugherty, 21, Ashley Bland, 22, and Kailynd Beck, 22, spearheaded the local Facebook event that invited MU students to gather as one at Speakers Circle for the vigil.
Bland said she was with Daugherty and Beck on Wednesday night when they decided to do something in response to Ferguson. There were too many organizations trying to do something about it, so they thought it would be better to bring all the organizations together for one event, Bland said.
"It's too big of an issue to just tweet about it," Bland said. "I felt called to do something because it is so close."
One of the attendees, local and state president for the NAACP, Mary Ratliff, said she drove to Ferguson and met with Brown's family Monday.
"They were very distraught, the mother's very distraught," Ratliff said. "She's asking for peace so that Michael's memory isn't marred in any way."
While in Ferguson, Ratliff said she witnessed firsthand the tension in the atmosphere, fueled in part by the police department's decision not to release the name of the officer who shot Brown.
"People were angry, they were hurt and they were frustrated," Ratliff said. "They were very unhappy with the lack of transparency."
Ratliff also went to a rally Monday night at Murchison Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis "to encourage everybody to stick together and see to it that justice was done for Michael Brown."
At the Speakers Circle vigil Thursday, Ratliff expressed her hope that positive change could follow the tragedy of Brown's death.
"We should use this to make our country and our lives better," she said.
Beck was one of the many who stood in that circle to share her thoughts on the vigil.
"I'm happy to see a lot of black faces, but I'm also happy to see a lot of white faces," Beck said.
Many of the people who spoke said they either lived near Ferguson or had friends or family from the area. That is another reason why Daugherty said joining with the nation in Thursday night's vigil was so important.
"We have students from Ferguson who will be attending MU in the fall, and it is important that they know they have a community who supports them," Daugherty said.
Before the crowd dispersed for the night, the Legion of Black Collegians' gospel choir members expressed their feelings through song. After they sang alone, almost everyone in the crowd joined in, singing "We Shall Overcome" right along with the choir.
The Missouri NAACP will be meeting at Harris-Stowe State University at 6 p.m. Sunday to bring the youth up to date about Ferguson and to calm the frustration they have, Ratliff said.
"We'll be talking to young people about how to strategize and protest nonviolently," she said.
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