Thursday, August 14, 2014

Missouri Unrest: Justice for Michael Brown

You don't have to be a man to fight for freedom. All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.  
Malcolm X

In regards to the sad and tragic series of events in Ferguson, Missouri, let's adhere to the words of Michael Brown's father:

“I need all of us to come together and do this right, the right way. No violence.”

And as Al Sharpton stated:

“To become violent in Michael Brown’s name is to betray the gentle giant that he was."

No doubt: looting and rioting by opportunistic and anti-social individuals does not help bring justice to Michael Brown, his parents or the community.

This is not to say the community does not have the right to be pissed off and angry as hell.

 I mean, come on, yet another unarmed black kid killed because a heavily armed  white male adult claims to be "scared, threatened" and wants Dirty Harry street justice.

We must respond with purposeful restraint and intelligence. As we learned from the 1960's and the Rodney King 1990's riot, wanton looting and rioting are counter-productive. These destructive acts makes thing worse not better.

After the dust settles, the war-zone looking communities are abandoned by what little business ventures existed prior. The poverty, isolation  and deprivation become more entrenched.

On the other hand, peaceful rallies, civil marches, organized protests, targeted boycotts, political mobilization all have long track records of being effective tools to bringing justice. The anger needs to be constructively channeled.

To the Ferguson police.

We need full transparent accountability now not later. This does not mean you have all the answers of the investigation immediately. It means treat the Brown family and the community as integral parts of the process and not hostile occupied people to be subdued.

Ferguson officials should be accessible to community leaders, church ministers and local political leaders. Circling the wagons, meeting peaceful protest in full riot gear and denying freedom of the press is akin to pouring gasoline of a raging fire.

The optics are very disturbing. A police/SWAT military like deployment from an almost all white department attacking a predominately all-black community. This is not the answer.

As President Obama responded:

In concluding his remarks about Ferguson on Thursday, Obama said that while “emotions are raw right now” in the suburb and accounts of the tragedy differ, “let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family.”

“Now is the time for healing,” Obama said. “Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done. And I’ve asked the attorney general and the U.S. attorney on the scene to continue to work with local officials to move that process forward.”  source

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