Ferguson October and #BlackLivesMatterOctober 15, 2014 1 Comment
Photo source: Democracy Now
Last weekend, thousands of activists converged in Ferguson, Missouri for Ferguson October, a weekend of resistance including marches, panels, creative actions and civil disobedience. The purpose of the weekend was “to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence.” Two months ago, an unarmed Black man, Michael Brown, was killed in Ferguson by a white police officer who has not yet been arrested. While Mike Brown’s death was not an anomaly – at least two African American males are killed by law enforcement every week in the U.S. – the energy that is building in Ferguson, the organizing that is deepening there, the connections between Black activists and racial justice advocates of all races across the country that are being forged, and the new level of attention that Ferguson is bringing to this disturbing trend across the nation is new. I believe that we are in the midst of a crisis in this country. I believe that the young people and their allies who are on the front lines in Ferguson are calling all of us to action.
I believe this “movement moment” as many are calling it is about much more than Ferguson. This moment is opening up new opportunities for us to face and undo racism in all of its forms in all corners of this country. Let us finally declare that #BlackLivesMatter, all lives matter, and make this our reality.
To learn more, check out:
- “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” by Alicia Garza
- “Ferguson October: Activists Call for Nationwide Convergence to Demand Justice for Michael Brown,” a Democracy Now! interview with three organizers of Ferguson October
- “What Goes Down in Ferguson is an Asian American Concern — In Fact it’s a 99% Issue” by Scot Nakagawa
#BlackLivesMatter would not have gone so viral as a meme over the last several months if Black Lives Matter were not something we all needed to hear.
Some of the questions for me, as a white person who is tired of hearing stories like Mike Brown’s, John Crawford’s, Trayvon Martin’s, and Oscar Grant’s, are:
- What will it take for us to pierce the heart of white supremacy, the dangerous fear that motivates a person consciously or unconsciously to pull a trigger multiple times on a Black man playing with a toy gun at Walmart or walking away from a police officer with his hands up?
- What will it take for us to pierce the heart of white supremacy, the misled assumptions of Black=criminal that motivate an entire justice system to imprison an extremely disproportionate number of Black people (compared to the actual racial breakdown of who commits crimes)?
- What will it take for us to wake up and truly value all Black lives?
Thanks Jen. Two sad facts to add to the story. More than 40% of white people in a recent study of implicit bias believe that “many or all” black men are violent. http://themonkeycage.org/2013/07/15/trayvon-martin-and-the-burden-of-being-a-black-male/
Last week, a South Carolina man–who is black–was shot by a state trooper after he reached into his car to get his license, which the officer had just said he wanted to see. Thankfully and miraculously, he lived through the shooting. But it is extremely disturbing to watch the footage of this and understand that he could easily have died trying to follow an officer’s instructions. http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/justice/south-carolina-trooper-shooting/index.html
It’s great to see the Whiteness Project, launched in Buffalo, NY, though I find the quality of a lot of the discussion on the discussion board disheartening. Not a great venue for the conversation! http://www.whitenessproject.org/