Tag Archives: Ferguson

Power to the people! 25,000 march against racism in NYC. Thousands more march in Washington D.C. … Worcesterites join them! Welcome to the NEW Civil Rights Movement!

NYC_12-13-14 Young Faces from Worcester in New York City. Photo courtesy of Robert Blackwell Gibbs.

Our young people are part of a new nation-wide civil rights movement! Go, Worcester young people, go!!!!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN/LEARN MORE ABOUT AMERICA’S NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, START NOW! Email Gordon at hellowithfire1@aol.com and he’ll connect you!

By Gordon T. Davis

The demonstrations against the killing of unarmed Black men are a good thing.

This fight against racism will eventually benefit everyone, as it will cause a review of police procedures and policies throughout America.

Our criminal justice system is rigged in such a way that no police officer who kills anyone is ever indicted. This should change to a new standard: any police officer who wrongfully kills someone should be fired. The standard will be a long struggle before it’s effectuated. And it might never be accomplished without an overhaul of our justice system.

On November 13, 2014, there were demonstrations for racial justice in Worcester, Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C. At least 25 people from Worcester went to the NYC demonstration. The trip to New York was organized by Communities United Collective (CUC) – a group formed shortly after a Support Ferguson Mo rally in July of 2014 on the Worcester Common.

The CUC consists of mostly relatively young people of all races who are too young to have participated in the civil rights movement of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  All of the people in CUC are enthusiastic and this showed when they and students boldly blocked the streets of Worcester and made their voices heard at the Worcester City Council meeting.

A weakness of the CUC seems to be that they are never certain from meeting to meeting what is needed to be done, but their description of the rally in New York by some of the people who went shows their enthusiasm and hope:

Jules:

The Millions March was a peacefully organized Rally. It was very successful. We shut the streets down and raised awareness. This won’t end until justice is brought to those who ripped families apart and took the lives of the innocent. If I had to do it again, I’d do it a thousand times over.”

Jonathan:

The bosses have to have heard and that is why they are discrediting the marchers in any way that they can. This was no rowdy bunch of hoodlums. This was an extremely well organized political action. I expect reforms to come in the long term. This is just the beginning of a growing movement. The police can’t do this anymore. The people aren’t going to let them.”

Ed:

“… I thought it went really great, and it was amazing how many people came out in solidarity. I think our point of why we’re fighting got across, but we still have a ways to go, and we need to take that people-power past protesting.”

Robert:

“Uplifting while sorrowful! It was moving to see so many like minds there for the main cause. The police were calm, but we knew what they really wanted. When we all took Brooklyn Bridge and shut down both sides to traffic it was a show of real power.”

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The rally in Washington D.C. might indicate a difference in tactics between the old guard civil rights activists and the young activists. For example, a group of younger demonstrators from St. Louis wanted to go up on the stage where the TV cameras were and speak. The people running the rally said that the people from St. Louis needed VIP passes to get on stage!

This new civil rights movement apparently has reached a critical stage. What is next? More blocked streets, more teach-ins – or something else? Will there be a division between the younger and the older civil rights activists?

Hopefully, our new Civil Rights Movement will have the lasting power and the effectiveness of the old.

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This Baby Boomer considers herself old guard. And we old guard-types had great musical spokespeople who sang what we all felt: Dylan, Baez, Havens, Hendrix, Odetta, Young, Lennon, to name just a few. YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY NEED TO FIND THEIR DYLANS, THEIR LENNONS, their own musical/political geniuses! They’re out there – we just know it!
– R. Tirella

Don’t Cry for Darren Wilson

By Gordon T. Davis

Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, and the grand jury of St. Louis County, Missouri, presented to District Attorney McCullough a No True Bill, no indictment. Mr. Wilson showed no remorse or regret in his TV interview. The finding of the grand jury did not come as a surprise, as almost no police officer has been indicted for any action, no matter how bad, while he was on duty.

What came as a surprise is that Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department a few days after the No True Bill.

His resignation is somewhat puzzling.  When the police officers in Worcester killed Cristino Hernandez in 1993 they did not resign, nor were they fired, despite the Inquest Judge ruling that the Worcester Police used “excessive force.”

Today Ferguson is seventy percent Black and the Ferguson Police Department is ninety four percent White.  In 1993 Worcester was seventy percent White and the Worcester Police Department was at least seventy percent White, if not a higher percentage.  In Worcester the opposition to the police homicide of Cristino Hernandez was divided, with many people saying that the Worcester police killing him was not a racist act.  That division does not exist in Ferguson today among the protesters; there is some division regarding the destruction of property.

It is a common occurrence that when people make serious mistakes, they are fired or forced to resign. We have seen this in Massachusetts at the Department of Children and Families and in the Department of Public Safety. Even the supervisors are forced out. When the police make a mistake and accidentally (unjustifiably) kill children, the least that should happen is that the officer resigns.

Darren Wilson has resigned. Some people may feel sorry for him because he says he cannot continue his work in law enforcement . However, it is likely he could find a job anywhere in law enforcement in which the population is not majority-minority.

It is unlikely he will be charged with violating Michael Brown’s civil rights. There is going to be a civil trial for wrongful death, brought by Michael Brown’s parents. In order to be successful, the parents will have to name the City of Ferguson as a defendant. This means that the City will cover Mr. Wilson’s court costs.

Mr. Wilson will have an opportunity to write his book about how unjust the system treated him. The right wing might ask him to go on speaking tours about the need for law and order. Mr. Wilson will do alright for himself. He is no victim. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the late Michael Brown.

FERGUSON AND THE MEANING OF NO TRUE BILL

By Gordon T. Davis

Who will believe in the justice system after the prosecutor for St. Louis County defended the No True Bill for the indictment of Officer Wilson, who admittedly shot an unarmed Black man, Michael Brown, killing him?

This is what I heard when Mr. McCullough gave his press conference:

1. Michael Brown was shot outside of Officer Wilson’s car by Officer Wilson

2. Michael Brown ran away from the car

3. Officer Wilson gave chase

4. Brown stopped running and turned around

5. Brown’s hands were visible and held no weapons

6. Michael Brown was unarmed

6. Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown four more times, killing him.

The question that everyone is asking is how there is no probable cause for a crime. Mr. McCullough weakly said that the physical evidence did not match the testimony. He did not say how the physical evidence that Michael Brown was unarmed and shot twice while at the car and four times after running from police was evidence of no crime.

The testimony of witnesses had a consistency: Michael Brown tried to run away after being shot and he was unarmed. When he stopped running, his hands were visible.

There is outrage through the country and within Worcester. On the night of the No True Bill more than 100 people demonstrated at Worcester City Hall. At least two more demonstrations are planned for November. A movement of people is needed just to effectuate temporary changes for the better. However, because of the systemic issues, the whole justice system might have to be changed.

Ferguson MO reminds me of the killing of Worcester resident Cristino Hernandez by the Worcester Police in 1993.

There was an inquest into his death.

The judge ruled that there was no crime, but he also ruled that the police used excessive force.

Even with this ruling, the two police officers who killed Mr. Hernandez were never fired, let alone disciplined. However, based on the excessive force ruling the family of Cristino Hernandez sued the City of Worcester for wrongful death. This is a possibility for the Brown family.

The issue of race is to a large extent significant. There is a stereotyping of dark-skinned people and lower income people. The stereotype is that we are dangerous and our lives are not important.

White cops and, to a certain extent Black cops, do not see us as people, but as targets. The laws give these policemen the license to kill us with impunity while on the street.

This license to kill us has to be taken away. In many ways it is like the “stand your ground” laws which allow cops and others to kill anyone when they “believe” their life to be in danger.  That standard should change to someone’s life “actually” being in danger instead of the “belief” that someone’s life  is in danger.  It would make the killing of the twelve-year-old boy in Cleveland by the cops a crime, as the cop who shot the boy was never in mortal danger.

On Ferguson … From the Worcester NAACP

Greetings,

The Worcester NAACP wishes to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Michael Brown.  We join communities across our nation in voicing our disappointment that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown.  Justifying the killing of an unarmed young black man by a trained law enforcement officer is not just a travesty, but is in direct opposition to law enforcement’s sole purpose, to protect and serve those in their charge.

The killing of Michael Brown, the actions of the Ferguson Police and the grand jury decision is evidence of the acceptance of an overaggressive policing culture in our communities of color.  The NAACP stands committed to continue the fight against racial profiling, police brutality and the militarization of local authorities.

Please join the Worcester NAACP as we unite as a community to protest the treatment of Michael Brown tonight, Tuesday, November 25 … behind City Hall, Worcester.

Why isn’t President Obama heading out to Ferguson, Mo., to DEAL WITH …

… this CANCER on the AMERICAN soul? Racism.

We can only truly feel it if we are a person of color. If we are white, maybe feel how people feel if we are married to or in love with a person of color and live with their experiences every day.  Sometimes, if we are white, we can try to understand through the great American art of blues music. We can hear – be awed by – the pain/joy in that music. But there’s no substitute for being black or brown skinned…

President Obama knows exactly how it went down in Ferguson.

He KNOWS, but he’s gone all politician on us.

Equivocation ain’t gonna save this day! Our president DOES look gaunt and careworn. He’s got a tough job …Easy to slow down, ease up a bit at the end…Forget the poetry, the vision, the POWER OF A PRESIDENT’S WORDS. Especially this one’s.

DISENGAGEMENT IS NOT AN OPTION! Especially when so many people need you!

We wish MLK, Jr., were here! In his prime! He really was the King! He’d be down in Ferguson!

Screw Al Sharpton!

President Obama needs to go down to Ferguson! He needs to speechify. He needs to get eloquent. He needs to speak TRUTH to ugly reality.

He needs to tell HIS people – cuz they are HIS people – that what happened was evil. That he knows their pain and that the American machine is rigged to PRODUCE AND PERPETUATE THEIR PAIN. He needs to say: I hear you and you break my heart…

– R. Tirella