I am beyond convinced that they really don’t care about us.
The shooting of Michael Brown and the refusal to indict Officer Darren Wilson for what is obviously murder are nothing more than the straw that broke the camel’s back at this point. I’m not here to reiterate what’s happened in this country over the last three months (or even the last 500+ years) because the murders of Emmett Till, Amadou Diallo, Aiyana Jones, Trayvon Martin, Yvette Smith, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gruley, Tamir Rice, and countless others due to systemic oppression that some are hell-bent on pigeonholing us out of existence speak for themselves.
There are no words that I could use to express the deep sorrow and sheer terror that I’m feeling about all of this right now other than lamenting that our judicial system is more willing to jail a Black man for allegedly killing a police dog than they are to even indict a White man for killing an unarmed teenager, but I digress…
This isn’t the time to just continue on with the rest of our lives. This isn’t the time for “life goes on.” That’s why we’re still living in a world where police, whether they be bumbling or straight deluded, continue to catch Black bodies with little to no repercussions. Now is the time for action, my friends. And here’s how we need to go about it.
5. If you’re able to, PROTEST.
No value for black life. But they extrapolate our magic , sweat, our voice our fire… And leave us stripped of our right to exist
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) November 25, 2014
Ever since the grand jury’s verdict was revealed (just under 12 hours ago, as of this writing), protests of all kinds have been cropping up across the country from LA to Chicago, from Missouri itself to here in New York City. Do yourself and the rest of the United States a favor and show your face, if you can. Noise obviously needs to be made at this point. That’s not to say that they need to turn violent at any point, but shutting down bridges, marching in the streets shouting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot?” Yes. Definitely. We can’t take this lying down anymore. Q-Tip was leading the charge in Times Square this morning. Killer Mike dedicated the opening of Run The Jewels’ show in St. Louis last night to this. Try it. I’m envisioning the direct parallels drawn between the HUDS movement in Ferguson and the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in Ava DuVernay’s new film Selma here, but I know that not all of these are going to be so peaceful.
4. Lobby for the case to go to federal court.
This lack of indictment is frustrating and terrifying on levels that I shouldn’t have to explain, but Officer Wilson isn’t out of the frying pan just yet. Attorney General Eric Holder, forever the blunt outspoken figure President Barack Obama can’t possibly be, has started an investigation into the shooting that could lead to the Brown/Wilson case going to federal court. There’s no guarantee that it will happen, as this would mean that not only would it need to be proved that Wilson wrongfully shot Brown, but that he actively violated his civil rights by doing so, but it remains a sliver of hope, just like it was when George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. And even if that falls through, according to Missouri state law, Wilson could be stripped of his right to be a police officer. And no, he doesn’t need to be convicted of the crime for that to happen.
3. Heed The Brown family’s plea of peaceful protest
The Brown family has asked for peaceful protest (“Let’s not just make noise. Let’s make a difference”). Let’s give them their wish, everyone. Bring the people and system responsible for all of this to task, for sure, but the Anarchist Cookbook shouldn’t be involved here in any capacity.
“Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference” – Mike Brown’s family’s statement. pic.twitter.com/fFFNQqXjBO
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) November 25, 2014
2.KNOW. YOUR. RIGHTS.
Perhaps the most important step of all; it’s up to us to know the boundaries of our freedom from this point forward. Know the fact that it’s within your legal right to film any interaction with police at any time. Know that you have the right to refuse a search from police without probable cause. Know that you can up and leave if you’re not under arrest. Stay calm, stay collected, and keep that camera rolling.
There are various causes and organizations that directly benefit the families of sufferers of police brutality. Donate your money. Regardless of its objective relevance, money is the universal language. It denotes power and influence, and in this country, all the people who have the vast majority of the money, power, and influence are those who are perpetuating horrid situations like this. As Black people, it’s time that we start culling together our money, power, and influence to create something worth saving Let’s show them what we’re made of. I want to see some real change here, people.
As long as unarmed Black youths can be shot six times in the back, we’re not safe. As long as unarmed Black youths can be shot in stairwells on their way home from getting their hair re-twisted, we’re not safe. As long as we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong amount of melanin in our skin, we’re not safe. But not being safe doesn’t mean that we can’t at least try to make a difference. I’m hoping that this lack of indictment will lead to real change this time. I’m hoping that all these deaths won’t be in vain. We’re at the respective whims of history and fate now. Whatever you do to show support, stay safe, everyone.