From Ferguson to Baltimore: What Are We to Do?

Community members stood between demonstrators and police today after a confrontation. Photo via @ajplus

Community members stood between demonstrators and police today after a confrontation. Photo via @ajplus

Last night, I watched Baltimore burn. I watched young school children pelt the police. Many of you reading this saw those scenes and probably cried and cried and cried as I did. I switched between CNN, MSNBC, and FoxNews. I was sure that these images would play into the Fox narrative of irresponsible Black folks and a lot of their coverage was filled with Megan Kelly saying: “They are burning down their own businesses.”

There came one remarkable moment on the Kelly File when the Fox reporter on the scene interviewed Jamal (I do not remember his last name and am not even sure his first name was Jamal), a Black man who had been trying to bring calm to the situation. Jamal looked straight into the camera with eyes full of truth and said that the people out on the streets were tired of police brutality.

I cried again and realized that ALL of us are tired of the regular reports of the latest fatality of a Black man at the hands of the police. We are all filled with rage and pain. My new allies from Black Lives Matter report that the hideous statistic of a Black man being killed by a police officer every 28 hours is even worse in that they feel that a man, woman, or child is killed every 8 hours!!!

Well, we at EJS are in pain, but have vowed not to curse the darkness. The particular candle we are helping to light is the candle of pushing for independent investigations and prosecutions of police shootings. As we have reported before, we have been working in the California legislature on AB 86, a flawed bill but a step in the right direction.

Our work in this area has led us to Human Rights First and their report (download) on police shootings. Spread the word. Work for justice. Stay strong.

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