Solidarity: The People Respond to the Ferguson Rebellions

ferguson_0_0On August 9th, 2014, eighteen year-old Black male, Michael Brown, was shot six times by Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson, later dying from his injuries. In response to this tragedy, Brown’s community members constructed a memorial for the young man at the place of his death. However, the memorial was soon destroyed by Ferguson police officers. With unresolved racial tensions setting the stage, Ferguson community members unleashed their frustrations with the authorities’ lack of respect for Brown and his family through protests.

The Ferguson rebellions began the day after Brown’s murder, on August 10th. Gathering at the site of Brown’s death, later taking the protests to police headquarters, the Ferguson police department responded to the community members with military-grade riot equipment.

With the Ferguson community member’s protests continuing for days after Brown’s killing, and increasing brutality of police backlash, activists, organizers, and everyday people across the nation reacted swiftly to the struggles of the Missouri residents.

In a flurry of press releases, art, and rallies, a nationwide call to recognize the value of Black lives was sounded and echoed across the country. Not at all an exhaustive list, here are a sampling of the national and global acts of solidarity sparked by the events in Ferguson.

Starting on the West coast, in Phoenix, Arizona, more than one-hundred people gathered in the city’s Eastlake Park protesting police brutality. Fortunately, no police officers were in attendance to harass the protesters.

Protesters in Oakland, California held mirrors in front of officer’s faces because they wanted the officers to “just look at themselves”, a protester named Nichola Torbett told local radio station KPIX 5.

In Los Angeles, with it’s long history of police brutality, one-thousand people gathered outside of LAPD headquarters, linking their struggles with police brutality to the violence experienced by the people in Ferguson.

On the East Coast, residents of West Philadelphia rallied on the corner of 52nd and Market streets in protest of happenings in Ferguson, speaking out about their own experiences with police brutality in Philadelphia.

After the murder of 43 year-old Eric Garner at the hands of Staten Island police, high racial tensions between NYC residents of color and police simply swelled. Building off the momentum from those protesting in Ferguson, thousands of people from all over the NYC-area flooded the streets of Staten Island in protests of local and nationwide police brutality.

Similarly, after holding a vigil for Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, and other Black people slain by police and vigilantes, protesters in Washington, DC marched to the downtown area by the thousands, one of many protests held in the DC-area.

On the global stage, those struggling against oppressive regimes in Palestine and Hong Kong are using Twitter as a medium to link their struggles with those in Ferguson, offering helpful tips on dealing with a militarized police force during protests. A letter of solidarity published by the Mexico Solidarity Network hints at an even larger global awareness of the significance of the Ferguson rebellions than first thought may suggest.

With the recent events of Ferguson October, including the arrest of prominent Black intellectual Dr. Cornel West, a fresh wave of actions protesting anti-Black racism and police brutality may soon be upon us.

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