Because Ferguson: Long Reads
I haven’t had a lot of time for blog writing lately (since I became president of Pennsylvania National Organization for Women), but wanted to share some of the media that’s affected me most profoundly over the past weeks, since Mike Brown was senselessly shot dead by a Ferguson, MO police officer for no reason other than “walking while black.” An ongoing effort to keep these issues in the public eye is gathering momentum in Ferguson. Connect with it via #BlackLifeMatters.
We know that the military policing of black communities has been escalating for almost two generations.
In 1972 there were just a few hundred paramilitary drug raids per year in the US,” writes Michelle Alexander, in the New Jim Crow. “By the early 80’s there were three thousand annual Swat deployments, by 1996 there were thirty thousand, and by 2001 there were forty thousand.”
“You already know enough,” wrote Sven Lindqvist in Exterminate All the Brutes. “So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and draw conclusions.”
The inevitable conclusion is that for all the symbolic ways in which America looks different racially when it comes to matters of substance, it acts the same.
I do not hear this aspect of Black parenting — this wholly rational fear that babies will be snatched from our arms and this world before their own limbs are fully grown — addressed by white advocates in gender equality and reproductive justice. Is it not an assault on Black people’s reproductive rights to brutally and systematically deny us the opportunity to raise children who will grow to adulthood, who can experience the world with childlike wonder? Is it not an assault on Black people’s reproductive rights to tell us we give birth to future criminals and not innocent children, to murder one of us every 28 hours and leave a family in mourning?
Statement issued by National Domestic Workers Alliance:
What’s happening in Ferguson reminds us all that racial justice is a core issue for all who care about women’s equality and believe in justice. We must all re-commit to working towards the day when there are no more Black families grieving the loss of their children to police violence. We stand with Ferguson and all American families who dream of living in a nation where no one dies because of the color of their skin.
We stand with families in Ferguson, MO to demand that justice be achieved for Michael Brown. Specifically we demand:
New leadership for the local police department, that can ensure respect and dignity for all members of the Ferguson community;
That the Governor of Missouri appoint a Special Prosecutor who will ensure that there is an aggressive process to hold the officer and the department accountable for the death of Mike Brown; and
That the officer responsible for the murder of Michael Brown be held accountable for his actions.
Let’s talk about an active role for white people in the fight against racism because racism burdens all of us and is destroying our communities.
And finally, Jon Stewart’s rant on The Daily Show: