I participated in a full day training on discrimination and race with my colleagues yesterday, the same day the Grand Jury decided there was no “probable cause” to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death. What a bizarre coincidence…
I’ve attended a few of these trainings before, but yesterday, for the first time, I really understood that having hard conversations together, being willing to share and discuss through the discomfort, is the only way we can change our culture and the systems that perpetuate racism and discrimination. It is in that vain that I share my thoughts.
I’ll be honest, I paid attention to Ferguson for the first few weeks, but as with most things, I got distracted with other issues, responsibilities, and the day-to-day and hadn’t thought about it until last week when I heard that the grant jury decision would be released. From the beginning of this case, I found it hard to believe that they would find Darren Wilson anything but guilty seeing as Michael Brown was unarmed. I imagined the same scenario happening in my town, which is almost hard to believe, but the one thing I knew to be true is that if it did happen in my community we would be just as angry and outraged as the people in Ferguson.
Last night’s decision and “announcement” was horrible to watch and quite shocking. It makes absolutely no sense that there wouldn’t at least be a trial to determine if an unarmed man, shot and killed by a police officer, shouldn’t have been shot and killed. This “decision” is rooted in racism, as is much of the media coverage about the behaviors of some members of the community.
I’m sorry for those in Ferguson and for all those reeling from this “decision”, and I’m sorry for Michael Brown’s parents who lost their son. But mostly, I’m sorry that lives are being lost because we have not confronted, nor worked through our country’s long standing history of racism and oppression.
In their statement following the “decision”, Micheal’s parents said, “We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.” I’m committed to doing that, I hope you will commit to doing the same.