President Barack Obama talks with paralympic athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 9, 2012. Broadcast of the gold medal ceremony for the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team plays on the TV in the background. Photo by Pete Souza
DeRay McKesson: Ferguson And Beyond: How A New Civil Rights Movement Began – And Won’t End
Mike Brown should be alive today. He should be home from his first year at college, visiting friends and enjoying summer as he prepares to return to campus. The movement began one year ago as Brown’s body lay in the street of Canfield Drive here in Ferguson, Missouri, for four and a half hours. It began as the people of St Louis came out of their homes to mourn and to question, as the people were greeted by armed and aggressive officers. In the past year, the movement has focused primarily on police violence that can be seen and its impact, centered on broken bodies and death. But the police are violent in ways that cannot always be seen – the violence against the hearts, minds and souls of black folk. We must begin to address the sexual and emotional violence inflicted upon us by the police, too. We must begin to address the assaults on our self-worth and potential, too.
Beyond Ferguson: how a new civil rights movement began – and how we will win | DeRay McKesson trib.al/ZhdaOQO—
Guardian US (@GuardianUS) August 09, 2015
Naming this violence means one thing: the police and the state must change. It is not our job to shift the skin and identities into which we were born. It is up to systems of law enforcement, and the systems and structures that sustain its presence, to change. As much as this fight is about systems and structures, it is also a fight about hearts and minds. We will work hard to teach people that the safety of communities is not predicated on the presence of police – that safety is a more expansive notion than policing. Safety is strong schools, access to jobs, workforce development and access to healthcare, among many other things. The solution-work will likely fall into two separate but critically related areas: removing barriers, and building and rebuilding. There is much to be done to tear down systems and structures that oppress people, like mandatory minimum sentencing, broken-windows policing and police contracts that provide officers with protections that ensure they will never be held accountable for the crimes they commit.
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Paralympic swimmer Michael Prout watches as President Barack Obama signs a board for athletes during a visit to the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 9, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza