Last night I stayed up and watched all the live coverage from Ferguson that I could. The more I researched and read, the more I saw that this is going far beyond race. At first, it was clear that Michael Brown was killed as a result of institutionalized racism. Daily, black people are mistreated simply for being black. Daily, black people are harassed by police officers because they are black. We know this. That’s no secret and hasn’t been a secret for a long time.
So why do people care all of a sudden?
Because this is no longer about race. This is about a system of power (law enforcement), using their power to hurt those with less power (citizens). When we look at this structure, everyone is affected no matter what race they are. As many videos that I have seen about police brutality against black people, I have seen videos with police brutality against white people. It’s becoming a citizens fight.
But, when all the tear gas clears and people go home, black people will still have to fight as hard. So often, we get lost in our own movements. I’m involved in a couple of movements, mostly in domestic violence and sexual assault. We protest, we fight for policy change, we advocate, but we sometimes forget to include survivors. Please, let’s not do that to young black people.
So, when the tear gas clears, let’s not forget why this all started. This did not start because of police brutality. This started because someone killed a little black boy. This started because someone used their power over someone else. Micheal Brown’s blackness was purposeful. Let’s not forget that.