A touching portrait of men from the Ferguson Missouri community that played back drop to the slaying of Michael Brown.
Now that #Ferguson is no longer trending and the media hype has died down a bit, what’s been going on in the St. Louis suburb that held national attention over the last month? Things in the small city are far from back to normal since the August 9th shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown which brought issues of racial profiling and excessive force to the forefront. Here are a few updates you should know:
1. No Federal Charges Have Been Filed Against Darren Wilson.
Even the emergence of video footage captured in the moments right after unarmed Michael Brown was gunned down, Darren Wilson is a free man. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington has extended the grand jury’s deadline to consider whether the Ferguson police officer should be criminally charged to January 7th. Officer Brown has been suspended during the investigation. The Justice Department is also conducting a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police force’s conduct, use of force, traffic stops, searches and the treatment of detainees. In August, protesters led by Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz filed a $40 million federal lawsuit in against the Ferguson police department for violation of civil rights and excessive force used against protesters. The lawsuit names Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma and several unnamed officers.
Sometimes the way we say things make them easier to hear…. I honestly find pain to be at the root of a lot of beautiful art… Mr.Jeff Dess proves to us that this is true….
At any given moment my name could be a hashtag
A social place holder love remembrance
At any given moment my neighborhood could be a hashtag
Hashtag Jamaica Queens
Hashtag the Bronx
Hashtag Jersey City
At any given moment we could be the ones in tears
With milk running down our cheeks sudden smells of burning flesh
At any given moment my face could be the one
Attached to the unknown soul
Hashtag you’re it
If they gunned me down please remind the world of all my missteps
If they gunned me down please remind the world
of my use a foul language
Let them know I listened to trap music and gangsta rap
Let them know I illegally downloaded movies
And don’t forget that I stole basketball cards from the corner store in the ninth grade
And once wore white tees two sizes too big
And Timberland boots and hooded sweatshirts
But what is one to wear when a hoodie is removed and replaced by a coat of unarmed armor
When it’s too hot for hoods and the summer nights have reached boiling points
Thankfully there are buckets of ice water to be spilled
But unfortunately there are pints of blood also spilled
But neither will soothe the pain of tear gas
Wonderfully millions were raised
But sadly millions of questions went unanswered
And the scariest part is that no one was surprised
And maybe that’s because
so many times the words protect and serve
seem to transform into seek and destroy
And maybe that’s because bullies don’t understand logic
But they do know about bloody noses
And maybe that’s because peace and tranquility is often on sale
But one can never find the aisle for freedom
One cannot be stunned by the nights when you’re born in the shadows
Being labeled as the unknown is never a shock
One cannot be stunned by the night
Because the curfews have been set for centuries
And they always start at the crack of dawn
One cannot be stunned by the night
If when the rainbows appear you still fade to black
The veils had been removed
But the cloak of darkness has always remained
At any given moment my name could be a hashtag
But this was never about me
And this was never simply about the police
And this was never simply about the government
And this was never simply about our local communities
It extends further than any purple mountain majesty
You see we once signed a contract expecting freedom
But instead were met with exit interviews
Liberty and justice for fill in the blank
Please don’t shoot
I cannot breath
Reaching for strange fruits from the poplar trees
Published on Aug 28, 2014
This poem was inspired by the pain of young black men and women
This poem was inspired by the pain of our communities
This poem was inspired by the countless names of young brothers and sisters lost
By Urban Cusp
Six black kids from #Ferguson, MO bluntly and sarcastically educate white America about the racist reality in 2014. Recruited from the very block where unarmed black teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer, these kids ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, use sometimes uncomfortable humor to show white people the continued racism their generation faces. Armed ONLY with statistics (hands up, don’t shoot) these articulate and adorable kids are not having it while much of white America would rather pretend racism is over.
The video you are about watch may be disturbing to some, but not for the reasons you assume.
I was deeply disturbed by the description of events detailed in the video below. More so, I probably would have been skeptical of these details had there not been multiple witnesses(two of which were Police officers).
Watch the video before scrolling…
Now do you understand my distress? For the longest I have been trying to explain that although race plays a role when it comes to discriminatory policing, it isn’t the only factor:
✔ Law Enforcement: demographics, moral, training, leadership accountability
✔ Municipal Leadership Demographics
all play major roles as well.The identities of the 4 officers (the three who just passed by and the one writing the ticket) that were not suspended have not been released; however, the identity of the only suspended officer has. Senior Corporal Les Richards, initially asked the victim what was going on and then upon finding out, allegedly fled the scene. He is a 26 year old veteran of the force, and he is BLACK. He shared color, culture, and history with the victim but clearly there was no inbreed sympathy for a citizen in dire need of assistance.
We can’t blame this police disservice on the catch all culprit of racism. I’m starting to think the only way to fix things is transparency and the fear of being caught in the wrong. I am now, more than ever, on board with the idea of every cop being outfitted with a streaming on-body camera. It’s a proven fact that mirrors in stores limit thefts because possible thieves can see themselves and become either too paranoid, embarrassed, or ashamed to commit the act. If both Police and criminals understood that their every move was being watched, and if officers were given performance reviews based on actual video of their interaction with the people they should be serving, crime and rights abuses would both drop. If instead of militarizing the local P.D. we armed them with mediation training, we might actually create less bitter and biased law enforcers and more of a trusting relationship between the cops and those who care to improve their neighborhood.
The world is an ever evolving place technologically, but people haven’t really changed over the millennia. We have better weapons but still haven’t figured out how to relate to each other universally or how to treat each other the way we would chose to be treated.
Let’s just stop, drop the guns, and evolve… Either that or leave the following generations a far worse world than we inherited.
BY LAUREN CROOM Follow @LOSTBELOTHEFOLD
JOANNA ROTHKOPF Follow @joannarothkopf
On Sunday, the New York Times published what was a generally poignant piece about Michael Brown, the teenager who was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Reporter John Eligon wrote eloquently of Brown’s introspective final weeks struggling with religion and the meaning of life. However, the generally respectful article has unwittingly demonstrated the media’s unconscious bias.
Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.