As thanksgiving approaches, many of us are receiving messages that reflect on what we should be thankful for. Coming on the heels of the grand jury decision on Michael Brown, it is obvious some of us may not be feeling particularly blessed and thankful, living in a system that threatens our boys – our lives. Like all families across this nation that mix generations of American kids with immigrant parents and grandparents, the story is mixed and at times complicated.
The pastor said he doubted the same people who were raging on the other end of West Florissant had burned his church. Instead, he said, he suspected white supremacists who wanted to punish him for his support of the Brown family, who had just been baptized there.
They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, ... all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.
When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least 10 different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others, so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the U.S.
For the youth, excluded from the American economy by inferior, substandard education; targeted by the malevolence of the fake drug war and mass incarceration; stopped and frisked for Walking While Black, were given front-row seats to the national security state at Ferguson after a friend was murdered by police in their streets. Ferguson may prove a wake-up call. A call for youth to build social, radical, revolutionary movements for change.
On Aug. 9, police in Ferguson, St. Louis County, Missouri, murdered Michael Brown, 18, as he put his hands in the air to let his friend escape. Then the police aimed their full U.S. military-strength force at all the youth of Ferguson who dared to demand justice. With the world watching and their hands in the air, identifying the police as the source of the violence, night after night, young people waded INTO the tear gas and stood unflinching with guns in their faces. Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, Cephus Johnson, calls them the most fearless youth of our generation. And they vow not to stop until killer cop Darren Wilson is brought to justice.
NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE! That’s the feeling in Ferguson, Missouri, about three miles from St. Louis, majority Black city, 67 percent Black population, only three Black policemen on the force of 53. Once again another mother sheds tears over the loss of a son. Nationwide, shocking news heard from Ferguson that caused anger. Like so many times throughout Black communities, another young Black man is killed!
Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.
I am haunted by the words of Lesley McSpadden immediately following the shooting death of her son, Michael Brown: “Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many Black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway.”
On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down a street in their own community when they were confronted by an officer for “walking while Black.” Ever since Black people have been in this country, we have been subjected to a perpetual state of structural oppression and exploitation, including genocidal killings purposefully committed by law enforcement to instill terror in the Black community. And in most cases, because of “who we are,” when confronted with such injustices, we have marched, boycotted, protested, rioted and rebelled.
Slain 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25. The funeral was a local and national event with thousands in attendance. Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9 while he walked through the streets of his neighborhood. His brutal death from six gunshot wounds fired at close range sparked immediate mass demonstrations in Ferguson that have continued for over two weeks.
Nothing in this country will ever be the same after what is going on in Ferguson. This is our generation’s calling! Those young people are the bravest and most resilient souls I have ever encountered. Think about it! Without any weapons and being heavily outnumbered, they have fought back against the police for 10 days! Darren Wilson the cop who killed Mike Brown is still free. And they youth of Ferguson say, “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace!” Rod Starz’ story is illustrated with some amazing photos by Minister of Information JR Valrey.
The SF Bay View newspaper is working to gather enough funds to send JR Valrey to the frontlines in Ferguson, Missouri, site of the biggest protests against police terrorism since Oakland rose up to demand justice for Oscar Grant. They started Saturday, when a police officer murdered unarmed Michael Brown, 18, for walking in the roadway with his friend. Most corporate media is working to distort the story and demonize the righteous anger of the people. Michael’s family and friends and the people of Ferguson need the Black press to tell their truth.
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