The holiday season began on a distressing note late Tuesday night, when a police officer in Berkeley, Missouri — two miles from Ferguson — shot and killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin at a local gas station.
Authorities have released security camera footage they say justifies the shooting. They say the footage shows Martin pointing a gun at the officer. But the footage is grainy and only barely shows Martin, and was immediately questioned by residents and critics. Not only was there a demonstration within hours of Martin’s death, but protesters took to the city’s streets and a nearby interstate the following evening.
Martin’s death came not long after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged demonstrators in his city to postpone further actions in the wake of the fatal shootings of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu, Rafael Ramos. Their attacker, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, ambushed the two officers in their patrol car after coming to the city from Baltimore, where he shot his ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson.
As Jay Smooth explains in this episode of The Illipsis for Fusion, while there are police doing good work in their communities, the choice by people representing them to adopt “wartime” rhetoric has only exacerbated tensions between them and the people they are supposed to protect and serve.
“People are not angry at police because of these protests,” he says. “People have been angry at the police for decades because the system is broken, and these protests represent people trying, once and for all, to change that system so they don’t have to be so angry all the time.”
A day after a grand jury decided not to indict a New York City police officer in connection with the death of Eric Garner, protests calling for justice in his name — alongside that of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Tanisha Anderson and others — have been scheduled in cities around this country beginning on Thursday.
We’ve listed some of them below, per information from the Ferguson National Response Network. While the #ICantBreathe tag was used extensively for Wednesday night’s protests in New York City, organizers are using the tags #ThisStopsToday and #JusticeForEricGarner for this weekend’s actions. If you know of any in your area, you are encouraged to list it in the comments.
All Times Local
- Detroit: Campus Maritius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., 12:03 p.m.
- Durham: Duke University Chapel Lawn, 401 Chapel Dr., 1:45 p.m.
- Washington, D.C.: Justice Department building, 950 Pennsylvania, Ave. NW, 4 p.m.
- Houston: Houston Police Department, 1200 Travis St., 4:30 p.m.
- Note: A separate action in Houston is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park, on Houston between Forsyth and Christie.
- Baltimore: McKeldin Square, intersection of Light St. and Pratt, 5 p.m.
- Atlanta: Downtown Underground, 50 Upper Alabama St., 5:30 p.m.
- Indianapolis: 1 Monument Circle, 5:30 p.m.
- New York City: Foley Square, 111 Worth St., 5:30 p.m.
- Boston: Boston Common, Park St. entrance, across from the Lowes movie theatre, 7 p.m.
- Dallas: Dallas Police Department, 1400 S. Lamar St., 7:30 p.m.
The full listing can be found at the Ferguson National Response Network website.
By Guest Contributor Ray Heath
After hearing that a grand jury decided not to indict Mike Brown’s killer, I took some time to meditate, cry, be angry, and shake my fist at the sky. I thought I was okay. But this morning when I got up and did my morning meditation, the tears came back again. They wouldn’t stop. On my way to work, my steps felt heavy, weary. I kept seeing my grandmother’s face, my father’s face, my brothers… I kept thinking about all the Black lives that have been stolen over the years. By the time I got to work, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay. Which brought on the next challenge of the day: how to explain to my white boss that I was going to need to take a personal day.
Let me explain. I live in Mexico. And while I read the news every morning to keep abreast of what is happening in my country, most people here are not so diligent. Many keep up on their local news and the national headlines, and occasionally the U.S. will make a decision that appears on that little ticker tape that runs at the bottom of the nightly news, but otherwise there’s not much talk of foreign affairs.
Add to that the fact that very few people have a context for the institutionalized racism that still perpetuates itself in the U.S. today, and you can begin to see the trouble a very emotional me faced in trying to explain why I was not going to be able to stay at work. You see this is the perfect environment to shed obligation. When in Mexico, be in Mexico. And I suppose some people will wonder why I even bother keeping up on the news, but my family still lives stateside. What happens in the news affects them, which means it affects me.
There will be those who will reduce Monday night to the sights of burning buildings and tear gas around Ferguson, Missouri, and use that to excuse and explain the police violence that both incited and accompanied them.
But the reality is, demonstrators marched — peacefully — both in Ferguson and around the country not long after a local grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. These activists were not alone, and they will not be the last. This space is to recognize their presence, despite the insistence of certain narratives that they were not.
By Guest Contributor Shadee Malaklou, cross-posted from JFCBlog
[Editor's Note: Graphic images at the end of this post, under the cut]
The Trayvon Martin syllabus: These reading and viewing assignments are designed to prompt politically vigilant conversations about historical and institutional constructs of black male criminality in the United States.
Specifically, they unpack Trayvon Martin’s gratuitous murder in February 2012 and the response his tragic death elicited from media and legal institutions–especially relevant in the wake of Michael Brown’s August 2014 lynching in Ferguson, Missouri. Written texts consist of insightful and timely essays published on blogs like Colorlines, The Feminist Wire and Black Girl Dangerous.
These essays teach tertiary students how to extrapolate anti-black racism from non-black experiences of ethnic difference without overwhelming them with jargon-heavy texts written for a well-versed academic audience.
Summer closed with a bang.
Six bangs, to be specific.
The shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson sparked an international uproar. Ferguson, Missouri became the latest chapter in America’s ongoing racial saga, with protests still occurring.
During the break, we followed conversations on Twitter and Tumblr, but we want to hear from you.
How are you feeling?
What does justice look like in Ferguson?
And what happens next, from a racial justice standpoint?