How Far Have We Come Since Mike Brown’s Death Two Years Ago?

Mike BrownTwo years ago today (August 9th 2014) Mike Brown an unarmed teenager on his way back home from a local store was shot and killed by Fergurson police officer Darren Wilson

The residents of the Canfield Gardens complex where he lived were subjected to the spectacle of his dead body being left in the middle of the courtyard which is not all that big for all to see in the hot blistering sun for 4 1/2 hours..

It was like the police wanted to send a message of fear and terror to a community that had found itself constantly under siege, not just by Ferguson Police, but by the 50 or so police municipalities that resided nearby that routinely preyed upon residents with impunity.

Ferguson Memorial Mike BrownBlack people in Ferguson and North County were used as ATM machines by cash strapped cities and police departments who would issues tickets for anything and everything under the sun and then issue bench warrants when folks weren’t able to pay. At one point over 500 people in the St Louis area had bench warrants stemming from these tickets..

The ticketing of folks was the least of people’s problems. Folks in the Ferguson are were routinely subjected to all sorts of police terror ranging from humiliating remarks to beatings to false arrests. More than a few had met their fate at the hands of police. The killing of Mike Brown was the final straw. Police provoked stunned, grieving residents during a candle-light vigil and all hell broke loose.

Ferguson ProtestsThe world bore witness to heavily militarized police rolling army tanks through neighborhoods, shooting tear gas, arresting journalist and shredding the constitution, Bill of Rights and any other human rights law. The people of Ferguson rebelled for more than 100 days and forced the world to stand still for a moment in time..

Since Ferguson, we seen scathing reports issued by the Department of Justice. We’ve seen President Obama lay out Blue Ribbon Commissions We’ve seen scores of proposed laws both locally and on the federal level. We’ve seen police accountability activist visit the United Nations on 4 different occasions. We’ve seen scores of gatherings, conventions and panel discussions..

We’ve seen TV specials on the topic. We’ve sen hunger strikes…We seen the removal of several district attorneys and police chiefs and the election of others to office by those determined to win. We seen the development of a robust platform of demand from the Movement 4 Black Lives. The push back and organizing around ending police terror has been tremendous

We’ve seen hundreds of protests from coast to coast. Bridges have been shut down, freeways shut down and Presidential candidates interrupted and political rallies disrupted by those demanding an end to police terror.

We also seen since the death of Mike Brown an estimated 3k people shot and killed by police around the United States. We’ve seen no cops go to jail and very few indicted.

There’s a long list of names that have been killed in the most egregious manner, some even caught on film, by police who been set free. From Freddy Gray to Andy Lopez. From Sandra Bland to Rekia Boyd to Tamir Rice. From Mario Woods to Mariam Carey to Alex Nieto. There has been no conviction of the cops who killed them. In fact some have even gotten promoted.

FERG Stop Killing Us SignWhat we have seen since the death of Mike Brown is a number of activists, freedom fighters and organizers demanding police accountability get sent to jail. We should not forget the name of someone like Ferguson’s Joshua Williams who is serving 8 years. That’s longer then the sentence handed down to any cop who have killed any of our folks. Reflect on that for a moment.

Hardly any of the proposed laws to reign in police terror outside of body cameras have gotten passed. Since the killing of Mike Brown we’ve seen President Obama reverse his position on militarizing police.

Two months prior to Brown getting killed all but 7 members of the Congressional Black Caucus rejected an amendment put forth by Florida Congressman Alan Grayson that would’ve stripped the police of its military hardware. After Ferguson erupted many of those same lawmakers including some who had the nerve to speak at Brown’s funeral rushed to pass laws to stop police militarization even though they rejected the Grayson amendment.

Last month President Obama announced that he would reverse himself on banning military hardware to police. Police can now gear up again. We are back at square one. Its as if we have buffer class of people who are supposed to be on ourside who carry water for police departments and police unions and at every chance seem to hold up progress.

Over the past few months we’ve seen a flurry of laws Blue Lives Matter laws be proposed and in some places pass from coast to coast would give the police more power, make their actions less transparent and in some cases make it a hate crime to not only attack them, but speak ill of them.

FergusonOn the 2cd anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, we should all be asking what’s really changed since 2014? How did and why did the US become more of a police state under a Black president and Black Attorney General? Where do we go from here?

Lastly as we reflect on today , lets not lose sight of the family of those who have been gunned down by police. far too often in these aftermath of their loved ones being killed, the family members become political commodities.

Mike Brown's Parents

Mike Brown’s Parents

For some, the constant attention and movement around them as folks fight for justice may help keep their minds off what is unbearably painful. But its on days like this and in those quiet moments that the loss of a son, daughter, husband, wife, mother & dad all comes rushing back.

How they get through it one can only guess. So lets’ be sure to show them love and not treat the death of Mike Brown or any other person as just another casualty that can easily be brushed aside.
#staywoke #turnUp #shutemdown

Mike Brown Memorial- One Year later What’s Changed?

Ferguson, Mo 08-09-15 Today was a very sobering occassion as hundreds came out to mark the one year anniversary that 18 year old unarmed Mike Brown was ruthlessly killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

What stands out the most about this tragedy is not just the killing, but the subsequent reign of terror and brutality levied by the police.. This doesn’t always get conveyed on TV news stories, but its clear as day when you talk to folks.. and the sheer brutality directly touched many and should not be forgotten..

In Canfield Gardens, where Mick Brown was killed and his body left to rot for 41/2 hours, is not that big.. When you see the spot, its in plain view of everyone, little kids, adults, the elderly.. He was left for all to see and many are still angry, saddened, hurt and traumaticized by that..

Today’s event should not have had to happen.. What needed to happen on this one year mark was folks marking that justice had been served and those responsible held accountable. That has not happened yet.. That in itself is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of today.

FERG-Mike Brown plague

FERG Mike Brown Memorial 2

FERG Malik Rashaan Canfield

FERG White silence is violence

FERG Racism is a white disease

FERG T-shirt Not Ur Respectable Canfield


FerG Cornel Wesy and Brie Newsom

FERG Cornel West Brie Newsom Canfield

FERG Rosa and Paster Mike

FERG Stop Killing Us Sign

FERG sign on wall


FERG Mike Brown street memorial

FERG Jessica Care More2

FERG Malik Zulu Shabbazz

FERG Crowd shot women

FERG Clergy Mcbride-Cornel-seku

70 Arrested at DOJ in St Louis Seeking Justice for Mike Brown

St Louis (08-10-15 ) During the historic march to the Department of Justice in St Louis one year after the killing of Mike Brown, faith and movement leaders read off a list of demands and attempted to deliver them to the DOJ.. Department of Homeland Security police erected barricades and blocked the entrances. Marchers attempted to get by those barriers.. Over 70 people were arrested…

March to DOJ Arrests

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis Neeeeta

DOJ March St Louis Neeta arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March st louis sit

doj March riase

doj March ending

Some Thoughts on the DOJ Ferguson Report

Davey-D-brown-frameA couple of things to keep in mind about the DOJ’s Ferguson Report. First, all it does is confirm many of the things that independent media has long been reporting and what folks from Ferguson had long been articulating.. Sadly for more than a few folks, what was being asserted is now legitimate because the DOJ says so… I’ll let folks think on that for a minute..

Because folks may have dreads, not speak the king’s English or have a fancy degree or title next to their name, important truths were ignored.. and when I say ignored, I don’t mean folks didn’t hear what was spoken. What I mean is that what was spoken was not felt or taken seriously.

It’s interesting to look at folks timelines, read blogs or watch their twitter feeds to see them suddenly expressed concern about the systemic atrocities levied on folks by the Ferguson police…Perhaps now those who wagged their fingers and smugly said its a shame folks have not voted will understand a few things..

Ferguson Protests1-Police hunt for folks who have all these jay walking, traffic and other nuance warrants come time to go to the polls. In short warrants are not only great revenue generators for Ferguson and 41 corrupt cities/municipalities that surround them, they also serve as great voter suppression/intimidation tools..Police go hunting for folks in and around the polls during election time.. So no more finger wagging (looking at you Congressman Jim Clyburn )…

2-This system of ticketing and issuing obscene amounts of warrants that put almost every single resident of cities like Ferguson at risk.. (yes damn near everyone gets expensive tickets along with court fees), happened on the collective watch of Democrats..Contrary to popular believe this was not a Tea Party, far Right republican thing.. This happened under Democrats..It happened under the watch and blind eye turning of a whole lot of prominent folks.

Poor Black folks were chastised and told they need to save the day and save themselves by voting for folks who not once issued a report like the DOJ. These folks never took steps to end voter suppression and provide protection. They never held hearings to bring about relief for this outlandish practice of ticketing.. From Governor Jay Nixon on down to Congressman Lacy Clay on down to the DA Bob McColloch..This happened with their approval.. These are folks who we would see at DNC conventions..

A few years ago I went to huge Lacy Clay party at the 2008 DNC in Denver. It was hosted by Nelly and attended by DNC big wigs like Nancy Pelosi.. Folks stood on stage and said Clay was the man of the hour, yet all this madness happened on his watch.. Going against someone like him was met with scorn and ridicule.. How dare folks vote against a Black man running for office? How dare folks not support this staunch democrat? How dare folks turn their backs on the Governor, Congressman, Mayor and risk allow the Tea Party get into power.. How many folks heard this rhetoric? How many people spoke it??

How many people knew that Anthony Gray one of the lawyers for Michael Brown is also the police chief for nearby Pine Lawn where he oversees this horrific practice of ticketing poor Black folks and handing out high number of warrants?? You can peep that HERE and This was first reported 4 months ago…

Now that all this is out in the open, will we see a cleaning of house from those in leadership position within the DNC or will people be told to rush off to the polls and vote come April when the next elections occur?? Sadly we are more likely to see action taken because of racist emails about the President before we see changes on the horrors many Ferguson folks have experienced..

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 2.45.40 AMWhen it comes to politics we can no longer look at the overly simplistic Left/Right binary.. In 2015 if you lean left politically speaking we need to know those who are Progressive and Social Justice minded.. We need to know those who are Liberal-minded and feel like what’s systemic can be easily be reformed..We need to know they are there to protect the party and ride hard at all costs.. We need to know those who are corporate friendly and have been touched by big money and feel replicating the GOP love for Big Biz is the way to go.. White Supremacy (and yes they can be Black). They got a taste of power and wanna be in the spotlight and at the forefront even if it means selling their souls or throwing their own under the bus.. Peep the DOJ Report here

Everyone But Us (Sobering Thoughts on Ferguson & Racial Justice )

Lots to think about in the aftermath of the St Louis Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.. Racial Justice scholars David J Leanord and J Love Calderon offer up some keen insight and resources to tap into..

Mike BrownThe announcement that the St. Louis Grand Jury’s decision would not indict Darren Wilson was about much more than his potential prosecution; yes, it was yet another reminder of America’s creed, where justice for African Americans remains a dream deferred and where politically, culturally, and morally black lives don’t matter.  “Police violence, a lack of due process, surveillance, presumptions of black guilt, and the absolute devaluation of black life are all everyday business in America,” notes Imani Perry. “The American criminal justice system is so rotten, perhaps it is a fools errand to ever seek justice or fairness from it.”

The stench of white supremacy renders black bodies as inherently suspect and criminal.  At every turn, white supremacy is equally about the protection and the declaration of white innocence.  The announcement was, thus, about the exoneration of Wilson, and the Ferguson police; it is ABOUT affirming the innocence of whiteness. It is about the guilt of everyone but US – yet another exoneration of white America and its rotten system.

Bob McCulloch

Bob McCulloch

The endless assault on Mike Brown’s character continued as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney masking as a prosecutor Bob McCulloch used his platform to further demonize the victim.  As with Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and so many others, Brown was transformed from victim to assailant.  According to McCulloch, Brown was “no angel” and therefore Darren Wilson was justified in gunning him down.   The decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson, which was clearly made long before November 24th, is not simply about the “evidence,” the “forensic science” or even the law, but a cultural refusal to see the possibility of black innocence.   As Eric Mann wrote following the George Zimmerman trial, “[d]eep in the white American psyche” rests the controlling belief and script that sees “the impossibility of black innocence.”

The efforts to deny the innocence of Brown and other black victims, in the name of preserving the innocence of the likes of Darren Wilson, of white America, and the nation as a whole is commonplace.  “State violence is always rendered invisible in a world where cops and soldiers are heroes, and what they do is always framed as “security,” protection, and self-defense. Police occupy the streets to protect and serve the citizenry from (Black) criminals out of control,” writes Robin D.G. Kelley.  “This is why, in every instance, there is an effort to depict the victim as assailant – Trayvon Martin used the sidewalk as a weapon, Mike Brown used his big body.   A lunge or a glare from a Black person can constitute an imminent threat.”  Irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, class, musical taste, profession or the absence of a belt resulting in sagging pants, black victimhood remains illegible in the dominant white imagination.

Just this week, less than 24 hours after the announcement a 12-year old black child was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer.  Playing while black. The fact that he, like thousands of white children, was holding a TOY gun is irrelevant since last we checked none of them were shot multiple times – if the toy gun is the problem, there are plenty of toy companies that deserve our outrage.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

In response, the media did what it does best: criminalized and demonizes the boy and his family. published a piece that seemingly justified his death since his mom was on probation.  Noting that, “Lawyer representing Tamir Rice‘s family defended boy’s mom in drug trafficking case” and that this was not her only conviction, the article makes clear that the public should feel little remorse.  In fact, the piece seemingly blames Rice for inviting his death.  According to a psychology professor quoted in the article: “Growing up in such an environment can be confusing for a young person, They could have questions about how to react in certain situations …or how to react to police depending on what their previous interactions with law enforcement have been like.” Beyond its simplicity and irrelevance, not too mention its racist trafficking in culture of poverty narratives, the endless effort to exonerate white America through criminalizing and demonizing black bodies highlights the entrenched danger in anti-black racism.

As well, we have been struck by how much of the media response & political discourse is intent on demonizing & shaming black rage. Rather than hear the anger, to examine the expressions of rage as a mirror into the pathologies of anti-black racism and the unfulfilled promises of racial justice, there has been an effort to contain and silence.  In fact, what has become commonplace within the media, and from the political establishment is to focus on “looting” and property damage as the only story.  There have been demonstrations and protests that have taken many forms, yet those are in most cases invisibilized.  Instead, it has become yet another moment to depict the black community as “criminal,” as “savage,” and as THE problem.  This requires not only ignoring the activism, the organizing, the 100 days of action, the Black Life Matters rides, and countless more, but in delegitimizing the political expressions evident in looking.  In a culture that seemingly ignores white riots as (“kids being kids” or “black Friday”) and that seeks to understand and explain white behavior, there has been little effort to hear and listen to the statements emanating from the streets of Ferguson. As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “A riot, is the language of the unheard.”   The question is are WE listening.

John Crawford

John Crawford III

It is telling that neither the “accepted” forms of protest nor those deemed as “unproductive” or “simply criminal” have been seen or heard.  It is telling that there has been more focus on a few burned down buildings, and not the killings of Eric Garner, Ezel Ford, Kajieme Powell, Vonderitt D. Meyers, Jr., Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Cary Ball Jr. Aura Rain Rosser, Renisha McBride and Tamir Rice.  It’s telling that President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, Fox and CNN, and countless on social media are more concerned with broken glass than shattered lives.  It’s telling that on the day the verdict was announced Marissa Alexander reached a plea deal for defending herself against abuse, just days after Rice and Gurley were killed, that on the anniversary of the killing of Sean Bell, in the aftermath of Grant, Diallo, Morrison, Martin, and so many more, the national conversation fixates on Brown’s size, allegedly stolen cigarillos and some rioting.

It is telling that Bob McCulloch spent much of his press conference to blame social media and activists for standing in the way of truth and justice.  “The 24-hours news cycle and its insatiable appetite for any and everything to talk about, following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”  Yet again, we are told that the problem isn’t anti-black racism, white supremacy, racial profiling, hyper policing within inner city communities, and implicit bias, but political correctness and misinformation fueled by social media. McCulloch, unwilling and unable to hold himself (and a racist system) accountable, turned the focus on everyone but US.  Celebrating a system as one of “rules,” “fairness” and “process” requires imagining black bodies as inherently criminal and characterizing outrage and protest as irrational. Resembling the ways that discourses around race invariably blame black America for “playing the race card” and inserting race, McCulloch and friends ability to deny the racial meaning at the core of Ferguson and deflect through scapegoating everyone else is a sobering reminder of the insidious realities of American racism.

Ferguson ProtestsIn the face of daily injustices, police violence, and a system unwilling and unable to be accountable, primarily black activists and organizers have stood up to say #enough. “Waiting for this [decision] is the ritual of black life in America: dying, grieving, fighting, demanding, mourning, mounting protests, hoping, voting, being disenfranchised, shot at and dying again,” notes Salamishah Tillet.  “Right now, I am wondering how to stop a cycle that African-Americans neither created nor condone and how far from freedom we still remain. This has not been a ritual for white America; yet another privilege, yet another reminder of how the entire system says and shows that white life matters.  Yet, White America, as a whole, has been both silence and absence

What matters in this moment, in this new verdict but very very old reality is taking a stand, raising your voice, and being in consistent, organized action. There are many different ways to get involved, and some really important grassroots organizations and campaigns who have been on the ground organizing for a very long time. We want, we need, all hands on deck folks.  Do your part, in a way that feels right to your spirit and your ideals.  Here are just some ideas to get you connected. The more that THIS conversation of racial justice becomes THE conversation we can impact the dominant narrative, create culture shifts, break down systemic / institutionalized racism, and build a new day…..we must fight, ‘til the white day is done.

Stand up for what’s right
JLove and David

See, Judge, ACT for Racial Justice:

Monday: Mass Walkout #HandsUpWalkOut -#FergusonAction is asking you and your organizations to support a mass walk out on Monday at 12:01pm—the time that Mike Brown was murdered. Folks can put their hands up as they leave their job, schools or wherever they are and gather together. Please share widely on social media using #HandsUpWalkOut.  Click here for an image to share.

The request from Ferguson is for ongoing actions at the Department of Justice and Us Attorneys Offices this week (ideally by Thursday). We are still identifying point people across the country. For more information and / or to volunteer please email:

Identify the location and time for your action.

For US Attorneys’ offices near you, look here:
For a list of DOJ buildings, look here: 
If there is not a DOJ location in your city, please consider a location that represents the systemic issues we are trying to address. Some other locations include local police stations, city halls, and state capitol buildings. Even if your action is already planned for a different location, consider if you can march to an appropriate target.

Other Organizations, Responses, & Actions!

Showing up for Racial Justice


Which side are you on? A SURJ response to the Grand Jury In Ferguson

African Voices

Black Youth Project

Dream Defenders

Blackout for Human Rights

Ferguson Action 

Organization of Black Struggle

Black Life Matters

Ferguson Defense Fund

Youth Justice Coalition


Color of Change

Ferguson Next

About the Authors
David J Leonard is a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race at Washington State University.
JLove Calderón is a conscious media maker, social entrepreneur, author and member of SURJ.

Live Dispatches from Ferguson: Standing at the Crossroads

Rosa Clemente FergusonHere are some of our recent Interviews from Ferguson, Missouri. In recent days we spoke with local activist Bgyrl 4 Life along with long time activists and former Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente. They give a breakdown of the harrowing events that transpired the night before when police drew guns on them and their contingent as they peacefully assembled. One of the cops threatened to shot a 14-year-old boy who was on the ground next to her hyper ventilating.

Their narrative was in sharp contrast to what was being hailed on the news as a night of peace and a big turning point in the Ferguson Uprisings where folks are seeking justice for the murder of Michale Brown. You can listen to the interview below as well as read their accounts HERE

Rev SekouWe spoke with long time activist Rev Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou. he’s been on the ground as part of delegation of clergy who not only want Justice for the murder of Mike Brown but also want to help the community heal from the trauma they have been experiencing. During our interview he spoke in detail about US Attorney general Eric Holder’s visit and what that meant and didn’t mean for folks on the ground.

Rev Sekou has also been very clear in dispelling many of the false narratives being put forth by corporate media. For example, here’s a recent Dispatch from Ferguson that he penned

What CNN did not report: We held a line be between the police and protestors for 5 hours. When stores were broken into. young black men blocked the doors to prevent further looting. try time some one approached the police they pointed machine guns at us. There were about 50 cops at one point with 4 urban tanks, drones and snipers. These young people were crying and screaming. They are hurting deeply. We need folks to come out at night to protect the people. And a final note, looting in a consumerist society is political act!

Another dispatch from a couple of days later read as follows:

I am home safe. I was at the front of the protest holding the line. We were marching in a peaceful protest and about 9pm. Urban tanks descended upon us, said disperse and immediately started shooting tear gas and sound grenades. Women and children were trapped on a ledge and the police continued to shoot tear gas. CNN is lying! The police started the violence by attacking peaceful protestors. The continued to move down the street and shot tear gas and eventually rubber bullets. It was sheer pandemonium. #Ferguson

Below is our interview with Rev Sekou

Uncle Bobby pictured left w/ wife Beatrice X and Mike Browns fathers

Uncle Bobby pictured left w/ wife Beatrice X and Mike Browns fathers

Also on the ground in Ferguson was Cephus Johnson aka Uncle Bobby. For those who are unfamiliar he is the Uncle of Oscar Grant. Anita Johnson sat down with Uncle Bobby to get an assessment of how he saw things in Ferguson.

He compared and contrasted what he was seeing on the ground with what he and so many others experienced during the Oscar Grant Movement.

He also filled in the crucial gaps as to what the media was talking about with what was actually taking place..He also met with the family of Mike Brown..

Our Hard Knock radio interview with Uncle Bobby is below


Ferguson: Police Draw Guns on Rosa Clemente, Talib & Others

This is a harrowing account from Rosa Clemente who is down in Ferguson with a group of folks who she names in her Dispatches about what went down last night.. It’s important to compare her account with what’s being hailed in corporate media as some sort of major turning point…This sounds like a turning point in the wrong direction.. keep in mind about who is mouth piecing for the police.. Davey D

Rosa Clemente

Rosa Clemente

An hour ago, Jessica Care Moore, Talib Kweli, folks from the Fellowship of Reconcillation, Philip Agnew of Dream Defenders, Bgyrl ForLife, Malik Rhasaan from Occupy the Hood and Trymaine Lee from MSNBC and many others were chased like animals by the cops.

We ran to get away and were surrounded on a small path on bridge, surrounded by all types of police and told to lie down and put our hands up. We complied and we were told if we did not stop moving we would be shot. We were breathing. The young brother lying on my feet as I was holding him was not able to control his breathing he said “I’m choking” the cop told him to stop or he would shoot him.

I told him “try not to move, just lay still I got you.” The gun was at his chest. I looked at the cop and said “please, he is not doing anything”

I tried to record but the cop had his finger on the trigger. I could feel Talib’s hand on my back and Jessica behind me.

Ferguson ProtestsWe laid there until one Black officer said “Let them go, we got who we wanted.” In all my life I have never been so terrified. The young brother Devin said thank you I think you saved my life. What is going down here in#ferguson in all my years of activism, organizing, I have never seen.

This is a war zone, a military occupation and our children are the cannon fodder. P.S. The white boy who threw the water bottle a big fuck you, I am sure you were an agent provocateur. But for the police to act this way, they are itching to kill more of us. P.S. Women are also brutalized and terrorized by the police, at the end all of us are Black and Brown and animals to them.

Ferguson Dispatch #1

Ferguson ProtestsLet me state from the beginning: nothing provoked this, the first hour we were there, we walked, talked to folks, people were moving as they were told they had to and chanting. I saw Amy Goodman, Trymaine Lee, who I talked to for a while. He was the last person I talked to before police vamped. Right before I had talked to clergy, at one point their was a prayer vigil, I observed and did not join that as the police seemed to get very agitated because people were still protesting.

I was staying observant. Talib and Jessica were in a circle with young people who began to notice who they were and I truly believed there was about to be a cypher. I kept my eye on the crew we were with; the amount of police officers was just as many as protestors. I then saw people from Amnesty International, many who I know as I used to work there. We were talking, building; they told me we would see you tomorrow.

As soon as they left I stepped to Talib and said something is about to go down. I felt something shift, as a long time activist against police brutality I have been trained by elders and my organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to be alert, stay focused.

I saw them raising their batons and getting in formation. As I was finishing talking to Trymaine, we saw a water bottle, plastic water bottle being thrown, people kind of looked up, turned back to what they were doing talking etc.…and the next thing police came at us like charging bulls, weapons drawn, screaming, causing mass confusion “leave the area now!” “Don’t move!”

At the moment Jessica Talib and I grabbed hands and ran. As we were running the police came from all directions and locked us down. The threats, their eyes, postures, weaponry says it all, we have the power, we don’t care how many cameras there are we will never have to be held accountable. This is one of account of a small group of us. If young people of color did not know where they stood, they surely know now and they told us as much.

Ferguson protestsThese young people were tired, but they were still determined. They were deflated but not defeated. They were longing for direction and leadership that is def not coming from the older generation. They are acquiring knowledge in this moment and are awake. They were expressing their frustrations with so called leadership, the honest truth is I saw many older people of color, talking with, shaking and laughing with the police. They also seemed to be angry with the older people, yelling at them, telling them to go home, they young people replied we are home.

Many of the male so called leadership were as Malcolm eloquently wrote, acting truly like house Negroes, the were not being subversive to the slave master, but being obedient to the new slave master. This might not be the most eloquent, succinct 500 word essay, but on da real: The moment I saw that rifle pointed at Devin, the young men who was right next to me, and I looked into this white bald headed man, and I saw his eyes, I feared the moment that so many young Black and Latino, Latina men and women face, potential death and all I could think about is my daughter hugging me telling me “be careful Mommy, the police hurt women too.”

That split second you think it is over is the most harrowing, terrifying. I thought I was prepared, and I was to a certain extent, but nothing can ever prepare you for that and that fact is that none of us should ever have to prepare for it. Devin and his boys got to go home tonight. They got to go home tonight. I hope they always get to go home.

Ferguson Dispatch #2


Report Backs from the Front lines of Ferguson & LA Over Police Shootings

Ferguson ProtestsDay 9 of the Uprisings in Ferguson. We caught up with Rodstarz and G1 of Rebel Diaz who gave us a sobering front line report bout the police militarization and brutality unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. The pair spoke about the onslaught of vehicles and the over the top response by police to those protesting the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown…

They also gave us insightful context and perspective on things that took into account mass gentrification and media sensationalism that has added to the problems we see playing out before us. They also spoke on the type of anger that is seething in the community and how certain types of people and leaders are being propped up as buffers to trying and repress or redirect the concerns people are expressing

Rodstarz linked up with Michael Brown’s  family and spoke at length about what they are dealing with and what we on the outside who are concerned could and should be doing..

Lastly we talked about the role of mass media and how they have been willing mouthpieces for the police as even as they are being threatened, roughed up, arrested  and confined to so-called Free speech zones. G1 of Rebel Diaz was caught in one of those holding pens.. The two shared the types of lap dog politics many in corporate media have engaged in when reporting this story..

Ezell Ford ProtestsLater we spoke with Ivy Quicho of the organization AF3IRM‬ out of LA who was amongst those who protested in front of LAPD headquarters over the weekend in response to the police shooting unarmed Ezell Ford.. She spoke about the Ford being one who had mental health challenges and how police are ill equipped to deal with the special needs that many in the community have. Their response is systemically overbearing often resulting in fatal results.

Ivy also talked about the larger picture at hand and how reform will not be enough to turn things around..Ivy shares her experience of what has worked in LA with dealing with police militarization

Lastly we speak with Kat of Onyx and the Oscar Grant Movement who details upcoming short and long term actions planned here in the Bay Area. She compared and contrasted what is going on in Ferguson with what we in the Bay Area experienced in the past when dealing with Oscar Grant protests. She talks about the big marches and rallies planned for Wednesday August 20th here in Oakland.

Curfews & Repression in Ferguson Represents Further Consolidation of Right-Wing Power

This is a response post from former political prisoner and Black Panther Dhoruba Bin-Wahad. He was responding to a post I had put up that was dealing with how the corporate media had capitulated to police last night and went along with the curfew and allowed themselves to be placed in Free speech zone pens. I also noted that they were allowing the focus to shift from the murder of unarmed Michael Brown to be one about curfews and debates about whether Ferguson police shot smoke or tear gas..

I also noted how the corporate media was pushing the narrative of a killer cop being a hero. I’m posting this so folks can get a sense of history as he lays out some important things for us to think about especially in the area of right wing consolidation of power and how its being manifested in Ferguson. Below are his remarks..

-Davey D-

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

We discussed this for years haven’t we? The militarization of American Law Enforcement has accompanied the Racist and corporate Right Wing consolidation of Power in America that has taken place over the last 35 years.

It started with Vietnam era Government response in the sixties to wide spread urban rebellions and civil disobedience much like the rebellion presently occurring in Ferguson MO that seemed to occur every summer.

In 1968 the government established LEAA (Law Enforcement Assistance Association) to train local police in counter-insurgency and SWAT, while supplying them with military grade equipment. This was the precursor to today’s Government programs that turn over large quantities of surplus military equipment to wannabee Special-Ops soldiers that permeate today’s Law Enforcement establishment.

There was then as now a “carrot & stick” approach to our struggle against institutional white supremacy. What many people don’t fully appreciate is that this “historical” increased Police militarization was accompanied by special laws such as the “Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act“, on the “stick” side and “War on Poverty” on the Carrot side. The latter produced many of the anti-poverty pimps who would morph into local political leaders and politicians and Black entrepreneurs.

The Black comprador class back then was created to stem the rejection of “non-violence” by Black youth and to misdirect the militant thrust of “Black Power” that gained traction with every Black youth murdered by police, or White owned business burned out of the Black community. It was these Black opportunists who called for more intensified “policing” in the Black community (to fight crime) and who justified the foundation for the mass incarceration we face today.

The sad lesson that seems to emerge from Ferguson is that Black people have been cut off from this history and are therefore susceptible to machinations of the Governor who appointed a Black cop to calm the people of Ferguson MO. The Governor’s rationale? The Black cop grew up in Ferguson! People do not see this move as a sly deception.

For over 3 decades the call for community control and decentralization of police was opposed by police unions, Black politicians afraid of Police Union, helped mislead Black people into meaningless reforms such as toothless “community complaint review boards“, police sensitivity training, and increasing minority presence on local police departments. All of which are patently meaningless reforms.

Today, despite all the Black cops on police forces around the country the institution of policing is more vicious, racist, and reactionary than ever. It’s like the slaves are running the plantation system! Of course the White media’s coverage of Police-Black community relations helped by defining the issues as questions of reform rather than institutional change.

Whenever we (old BPP/BLA, Black Radicals, and supporters of Black Political prisoners) called for referendums to decentralize police, establish residency provisions for cops patrolling our community we were completely ignored – especially by so called community activists and groups with their own self-serving agendas who didn’t want to do the work necessary to build broad coalitions dedicated to the abolition of institutional policing rather than reform of existing police departments.

On Black campuses Black students prefer to mobilize reformist events based on revisionist analysis that proclaim “the New Jim Crow” as today’s plantation system and pay Black intellectuals honorariums to pontificate on their own political cowardice.

To this day, no where in America is there an organized Black mass movement to decentralize police and Public Safety, take over their local command and control structure, and to politically confront the power of the Police Unions who politically protect and defend murderous cops and underscore racist institutional policing. Nowhere. Yet many activists, Black leaders, and all sorts of reactionary celebrities flock to Ferguson to be on the “front lines”, holding their press conferences, when in fact the front line between the people and militarized policing runs right through their own living rooms. We are bombarded with images of “looting” as if that’s significant.

Since when has stealing hair extensions and TV’s expressed anything other than the opportunism of poverty born of material consumerism and ignorance? In comparison the opportunism of many of those who came to Ferguson to project themselves as “Black leaders” is far more pernicious.

Below is an excerpt from the prophet speech Dhoruba gave at the Hip Hop Political Convention in Las Vegas in August 2008. He talked about how the election of Obama would lead to the type of repression we are seeing and experiencing now..