Ferguson Outrage Grows From Local Protests to Global Movement

On December 6, a photo was posted on Twitter by Dëneze Nakehk’o. The picture showed more than a dozen people bundled up in the cold, holding a sign with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. The caption read, “-31 outside but #yzf in solidarity with #ferguson”. As Bucky Turco from the website Animal New York would discover, the people lived 3,000 miles north of New York City in an area in Canada known as the Northwest Territories. The photo was organized as a way to show solidarity with protestors in Ferguson and New York City.

It has become one of many such statements from around the world.

The aftermath of the killing of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson by a white police officer has been filled with a constant drumbeat of protests in Ferguson and cities across the nation. People have let out a collective cry of frustration at the lethal force used disproportionately against the black and brown in America. By the time the grand jury announced their decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson, it had been more than 100 days since Brown had been killed and several other police shootings of unarmed black men had made the national news.

Less than a week later, a New York grand jury failed to indict the officer who was filmed holding 42-year-old Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold as he died on the sidewalk the previous July. Garner kept saying “I can’t breathe” as several officers held him down. The phrase would be his last words, which he would say eleven times before he took his last breath.

At that moment, the protests became a movement.

The outrage has left the city limits of Ferguson and spread from the boroughs of New York. Protestors have literally stopped traffic on bridges and freeways, begging people to stop and listen. “Die-ins” were added to the arsenal of actions, while “I can’t breathe” became part of the protestor lexicon across the globe.

Many understood firsthand what is at stake.

In 2011, a young black man named Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police in London. The killing, the police mishandling of the case, and the subsequent four days of riots that spread across England make the events in Ferguson seem familiar. This week, protestors gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in London holding signs saying “black lives matter” to remember Duggan, as well as voice support for Michael Brown’s family.

“We know what it feels like to know that a member of your family has been murdered in cold blood,” Duggan’s mother Carole told the crowd. “That is why we stand in solidarity with the community in Ferguson, who are very, very brave people.”

Protests organized in Toronto highlighted their own problems with racial profiling and racism experienced by blacks from the Toronto police while they expressed support for the Brown family. In Calgary, more than 2,000 people showed up to protest outside the U.S. Embassy to point out that “Anyone, regardless of their color or race, doesn’t have the right to kill another human being.”

Still, there is much that remains a uniquely American problem.

In downtown Anchorage, Alaska, 120 protestors peacefully marched with their hands up amid chants of “I can’t breathe.” Organized by the local NAACP Youth Council, the event was to express solidarity for others across the nation. For them, it wasn’t about confronting police, but to remember the message of Martin Luther King Jr. that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Many admitted that the relationship with their local police was positive, but walked in support of relatives and friends who had suffered at the hands of police in other parts of the country.

Local ombudsman Darrel Hess, who attended the rally, echoed the sentiment of the residents. “It’s a good thing we’re not New York or Missouri,” Hess said. “But it’s also bad in a way, because people perceive there are no issues with racism here, and people get complacent.”

The nation is being reminded of this whenever possible.

Players from the St. Louis Rams walked out of the tunnel with their hands up, a gesture that is now synonymous with the protests, at the start of their game that happened shortly after the grand jury’s decision. NBA players have been doing their warm-ups wearing black t-shirts with “I can’t breathe” written on the front. Celebrities are holding their hands up as photographers snap their picture on the red carpet.

The message has also reached the nation’s capitol.

On December 11, the steps of the U.S. Capitol was where 200 Congressional aides, staffers, and some lawmakers, stood with their hands up. Organized by black, Hispanic, and Asian-American congressional aide associations, the protest was a planned walkout during a busy day in the midst of lawmakers trying to pass a spending bill. They wanted the nation to know that they, too, were frustrated and are seeking change.

America seems to have reached a tipping point of collective outrage. Organizers from Ferguson have even met with the president. Lawmakers in Washington have asked for Congressional hearings, while even House Speaker John Boehner says he has questions he would like answered. The Department of Justice has said they are continuing their investigation into the Michael Brown killing, as well as taking a new look at the Eric Garner case.

Meanwhile, the movement marches on from Ferguson to New York City, from Alaska to London, from Austin to Toronto, from Tokyo to Melbourne, towards lasting change.

Photo credit: Samantha Lotti via Wikimedia Commons

145 comments

Margaret Goodman
Margaret G2 years ago

Janice Lawrence wrote, " ... More crimes are committed by African American men between the ages of 16 to 29 than any other race. ... "

Again, what is Janice's evidence?

My condolences to Janice on the pain she has suffered at the hands of African Americans.

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Margaret Goodman
Margaret G2 years ago

Janice Lawrence wrote, "There have been more white people mudered by Africans Americans than any other ... "

What is Janice's evidence? I have read that 85% of United States whites murdered were murdered by other whites.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Darryll Green
Darryll Green3 years ago

Sony Pictures Entertainment isn't the first corporation to reach out to the Rev. Al Sharpton for help with its image in the black community, and the New York Post reported Sunday that Sharpton allegedly gets paid to keep from calling the companies racist.

Sharpton's National Action Network has received hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past decade from companies eager to gain his support or simply to keep him quiet, the Post said.

"Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him," National Legal & Policy Center Ken Boehm told the Post. "Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns."
A typical scenario involves Sharpton confronting a company over accusations of racism. He then meets with company executives, who end up contributing to NAN.

"Once Sharpton’s on board, he plays the race card all the way through," the Post quoted a person it said has worked with Sharpton as saying. "He just keeps asking for more and more money."

The Post cites a New York state inspector general's report on Plainfield Asset Management, which in 2008 gave $500,000 to Education Reform Now, which in turn gave the money to NAN.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 years ago

Brain F.,
While NASA claims that most scientists say humans are the main cause, they give no reference to back their claim. The IPCC stated, "It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together." More than half (0.3C) is a far cry from causing most of all of the warming, and did you notice it includes all manmade factors, not just CO2 emissions.

Several surveys have been conducted to determine the opinions of scientists. The American Meteorology Society found that 53% of climatologist felt that climate change was primarily due to human activity, while 37% felt it was nearly 50:50 between man and nature.

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00172.1

An earlier survey of meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, and climatologists found that 52% felt it was mostly human

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00091.1

The now infamous Zimmerman survey showed that 53% of all scientists responding felt that climate change was primarily due to human activity.

53% is a far cry from the 97% you claim, which is not mentioned at the NASA site. While some may classify any value about 50% as most, this is tenuous at best, and misleading at worst. Just because a vast majority think that humans have had some influence on climate, does not equate to human

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Dan B Some utilities will raise their rates, as we transition to clean renewable energy, we also have to factor in the cost of cleaning up the pollution caused by dirty fossil fuels. How many billions will it cost Duke energy to clean up the 70 mile long oil spill in the Dan river, in North Carolina?. How much does it cost to treat the health effects of mercury, and other toxins emitted into our air from dirty coal plants? How much does it cost to treat those who are poisoned by drinking water close to natural gas fracking operations. The cost of wind and solar is going down fast, so it only makes sense for utilities to transition into clean renewable energy. Solar farms are being built all across the country, and they can replace our dirty coal, and natural gas plants, without polluting our environment. The price of home solar is dropping fast, so many people will soon start installing home solar power systems, and pay less for their electricity than the utilities charge them.

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Dan B

Global warming is happening now. The planet's temperature is rising. The trend is clear and unmistakable. Every one of the past 37 years has been warmer than the 20th century average. The 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. The hottest year ever recorded for the contiguous United States occurred in 2012.
Globally the average surface temperature has increased more than one degree Fahrenheit since the late 1800s. Most of that increase has occurred over just the past three decades. We are the cause. We are overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which traps heat and steadily drives up the planet’s temperature. Where does all this carbon come from? The fossil fuels we burn for energy—coal, natural gas, and oil—plus the loss of forests due to deforestation, especially in the tropics.The scientific evidence is clear. Within the scientific community, there is no debate. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that human activity is the primary cause. This is from the Union of Concerned Scientist website, so please educate yourself before you make false statements that humans are not the cause of Global Warming.

www.ucsusa.org/global_warming

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Dan B Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the "greenhouse effect" warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. This is from the NASA website. So your statement is not true. Most climate scientist agree that humans are causing Global Warming. Please check your facts before you make false statements.
In its recently released Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 90 percent probability that human activities over the past 250 years have warmed our planet.

climate.nasa.gov



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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 years ago

Brian F.,
You failed to notice (once again) that your statement that 97% of scientists think man is causing the warming is false. That is about the number that believe that the globe has warmed. Most scientists believe that the warming has been caused by some combination of natural and manmade forces. Even the IPCC has stated such, with a possible warming of 0.3°C attributable to man.

Parroting false information is no excuse. Blaming the lie on someone else, but still repeating it, does not relieve you of responsibility. Trying to win an argument by saying something is obvious, is pointless, especially when your point is anything but. The science is overwhelming that our planet has warned. But the correlation with CO2 emissions is weak. It does not take a Republican to see valid scientific evidence.

If transitioning to clean energy is as cheap as you claim, then why are several areas that invested heavily in clean energy (Spain and the New England states, for instance) hiking their rates significantly?

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Dan B Well the IPCC has issued us warnings that we must end our use of dirty fossil fuels. In addition reports from NOAA, and NASA are not good and clearly show that Global Warming is getting worse. so, I am not an alarmist who is trying to scare everybody as you say. I am simply parroting the information that these scientific organizations are saying. Yes, the democrats do follow the scientific organizations like the IPCC, NOAA, and NASA. I see that as no reason to distance yourself from them. The billionaire Koch brothers and the dirty coal, oil, and natural gas industries are putting out advertisements and spending millions lying about Global Warming because their profits are on the line. I agree this republican democrat divide is silly, and using it to smear your opponent doesn't win the argument. Economic collapse will not happen if we transition to clean renewable energy. Germany and other countries are rapidly expanding in wind and solar power, and their economies are doing fine. Yes, it cost a little more at first but the price of wind and solar is going down, and when you factor in the cost to cleanup the environment from the pollution caused by dirty fossil fuels, it is much cheaper to transition into clean renewable energy.

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