Race Forward's Official Statement on the Grand Jury Decision
On August 9, 2014, a town in Missouri reminded the country and the world of the perils of being young and black. While tweeting and chanting “Black Lives Matter,” we waited and hoped that, this time, justice would be blind. That wait is now over. A grand jury has decided not to indict Darren Wilson in the killing of young Michael Brown, meaning there will be no charges, no further investigation, and no trial by the State of Missouri. Race Forward is deeply disappointed with this outcome.
The many questions that arise in the face of this decision can be boiled down to one: “What do we do now?” There are two answers: First, we must continue to organize - in Ferguson and everywhere. The activism demanding police accountability towards communities of color has been nothing short of amazing and it must continue. To many Black people, this shooting had a recurring theme that re-ignited the emotions and indignation of millions. It is the same tragic story that spans from slavery to include Emmett Till, Tanisha Anderson, Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Tarika Wilson, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner and many, many more.
One way you can organize right now is by joining our allies at ColorofChange in asking the Department of Justice to step in to pursue Federal charges in the murder of Michael Brown. Click here to sign the petition.
Secondly, we must relentlessly focus on systemic racism, even while condemning the behavior of individuals. We cannot ignore the rules, both written and unwritten, that reduce Black existence to unfulfilled dreams. It is structural racism that allows the vast racial disparities between the police force and community. It is structural racism that leads to militarized policing of communities of color. It is structural racism that forces grieving parents to have to prove, and even appeal to the United Nations, that the life of their son or daughter did matter; that they did not deserve to die.
Like you, we mourn the loss of Michael Brown and so many more. We pledge to keep fighting until the system refuses to tolerate the unjustified killing of any human being. We pledge to keep fighting because Black lives matter.