By Karen Stokes
The tragic events surrounding the Michael Brown Jr. case in Ferguson, Missouri has ignited emotions not only nationally but internationally.
Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African- American man and recent high school graduate, died on August 9, 2014 after being shot six times by a white Ferguson police officer. Brown had no criminal record.
Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson announced the officer in the shooting was Darren Wilson 28, a six-year veteran who has been with the Ferguson police force for four years. Jackson added that Wilson, who is on paid administrative leave has no record of disciplinary actions or complaints against him.
“I live in Ferguson, but not close to the area where everything is happening,” said Arika Parr, community outreach director at KMJMFM in St. Louis.
“I have been to the area where Michael Brown was shot during the day and saw peaceful demonstrations, more aggressive protests occur later in the day.”
“There are certain locations and businesses that are not accessible to the public because of the protesting and police,” said Parr 35. “I pray for both the police and protesters.”
The white population is 23 percent, the Black population is 67 percent. About 17.6 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Moments of Silence and protest were held all around the country. There have been events in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee.
On August 16, Occupy Milwaukee, African American Roundtable, Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) and other groups held a rally at Red Arrow Park to stand in solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson. Approximately 300 participated.
Mike Wilder, chair of African American civic engagement roundtable, participated to bring awareness that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
The rally focused attention on victims of police violence in the past few years in Milwaukee. Dontre Hamilton, unarmed 31-year-old African American man who was shot 15 times by a Milwaukee Police officer as he tried to take a nap on a public bench.
Derek Williams, 24-yearold African American man who begged for his life for over 30 minutes after being arrested and put in back of a squad car while police ignored his calling for help.
According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office his death was ruled as a homicide.
No one responsible for these deaths were held accountable for their actions.
Nyree Khamo, from Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) explained why this group participated in the protest, “We have a duty to stand against the violence that occurred in Ferguson and in solidarity with people who are struggling with the same fight against police brutality.
Khamo continued, “YES rises with the community to demand justice of the murder of Mike Brown, Dontre Hamilton, Derek Williams and Corey Stingley, the victims of police brutality and white vigilantism in Milwaukee.
The outcome was to show our presence and press for justice to be served.
“People shouldn’t have to be afraid of the police,” said Wilder, 29. “We want law enforcement and community leaders to know our demands for justice.”
A photo went viral from students with their “hand up”, who attend Howard University in Washington D.C. in response to the shooting of Michael Brown Jr. and Mya White.
White was a Howard University alumna who was shot and wounded in Ferguson, Wednesday August 13 as she protested in the Brown case.
“I hope people look at the picture and see that this issue is bigger than Michael Brown,” Megan Sims, a Howard University junior told BuzzFeed, an internet site.
“This issue is about the fact that this country is not post-racial, this country is not free.”
Although the majority of protesters are African Americans, people of every age and race are becoming involved with this cause.
Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, human rights activist and St. Louis resident, wanted to do something to join in the struggle.
She went to a gathering downtown to protest Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to activate the National Guard.
According to “The Nation”, Epstein and other peaceful protesters marched toward the Wainwright Building where Nixon has an office.
When told to disburse, Epstein refused, was arrested, handcuffed and booked. Epsten was given an October 21 court date and was released.
“I’m deeply, deeply troubled by what’s going on in Ferguson,” said Epstein. “It’s a matter of racism and injustice, and it’s not only in Ferguson. Racism is alive and well in the United States.
An international interest in the Michael Brown Jr. case has the world watching in outrage.
China’s state-run New China News Agency said in a commentary, “The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home.
Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”
Cuban journalist Lillian Lechuga stated, “Now, as in the past, we can see the brutal segregation and abysmal inequality for blacks and immigrants, in housing, education, work and public health and yet other human rights violations in the so-called most democratic nation in the world”.
“I’m not condoning looting,” said Parr. “Unfortunately the protest had to happen to bring attention to the situation in Ferguson. This situation needs to affect everyone.”
Texas Megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes wrote in an essay Tuesday, “It’s an acceptable fact that 100 black men are killed by white officers in America annually.
My hope is that the Michael Brown, Jr. case would become a catalyst for a systematic change that has been long overdue within our judicial system.”
People are looking for justice and last week on NBC’s Today show, Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden said, “Justice will bring peace, I believe.”