In the wake of the Ferguson Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, rioting has subsided while flames are smoldering. Yet, fear for the lives of black men escalates.
Brown’s case has joined that of Eric Garner, 47, who died on July 17 after being put in a police choke-hold while being arrested for allegedly selling untaxed loose cigarettes. Both cases only enhance that fear. They also reaffirm the threat of death to the United States’ African-American men and families, by what many call the legally-armed and empowered assassin-members of the brotherhood of police.
Until now, I have had little to say because the gravity of the situation has rendered me almost speechless.
Now, after reading many counts and talking with people, I have found myself asking: Where are the answers and solutions to living with the outcomes of Brown’s, Gardner’s and similar cases? Cases where unarmed African-Americans were needlessly killed while their known assailant remain uncharged?
This season of killing African-American men is far from over.
Its victims and spoils are yet to be fully accounted for, uncovered, and acknowledged. It’s like an onion that’s yet to be fully peeled. I, like so many Americans, regardless of race and position, are stumped as to a solution to this escalation of violence on the African-American community. Some say it’s a blatant form of modern day lynching, and that the Klan now dresses in decorated blue dress uniforms instead of white sheets and hoods — and they are hidden and protected by a shield and a gun.
Civil right activist Al Sharpton said it best concerning the Ferguson grand jury: that they did not set out to indict Darren Wilson, but they set out to acquit him of yet another unnecessary killing of an unarmed black man. Notwithstanding the video of Gardner screaming several times, “I can’t breathe” before his body goes limp — and the medical examiner’s report that Gardner died as result of the chokehold, ruling his death a homicide — those officers were also acquitted. Or, “not indicated” by a New York grand jury.
Either way you look at it, in spite of public outcry, what traditionally would be considered murder is now becoming standard operation for police. Officers being upheld as “heroes” who survived what they believed to be a threat to their lives, even though the victims were unarmed and, in many cases, assuming a non-threatening position during the police encounter.
This is becoming a global issue.
It’s an issue many believe will help to bring about the necessary changes in America with regard to the devaluation of African-American lives, particularly males. And also ease a practice in which police are allowed to use excessive force in situations where there’s clearly no present threat of danger to them. So, while mothers continue to cry and families mourn while preparing to live with and beyond their grief, what can and should we do as a community, and nation?
I say ‘organize, and work to get out the vote!’
True change will only come when we actively participate in the voting process that put people in office that will make prudent decisions, which will lead to a decline in deaths of African-American by police.
The African-American residents of Ferguson, many of who are not registered or interested voters, outnumber other races 2-to1. They can develop candidates from within the African-American community and put them in office to fairly govern the entire city. I’d like to see Brown’s mother run for mayor.
Her life experiences and most recent ordeals certainly establish a foundation and a platform of reform that she can run a successful campaign on. She would serve the city well.
I know some may say this is “out there,” but so are those who would work violently against the interests of the majority of Ferguson’s citizens. So why not try political action and voter empowerment as one of many first steps towards changing the war on African-Americans? And while we are at it, let’s take a closer look at Chicago and Illinois’ politics.
This situation is closer to home than many of us realize.
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