By JACL NY/SC
The National Youth/ Student Council of the JACL is deeply saddened by the shooting and killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends, who held funeral services for him at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.
The JACL NY/SC is, moreover, outraged at the oppressive and violent ways in which the Ferguson Police Department has acted in response to the community’s peaceful protests. The arrests of innocent journalists and the antagonizing of protesters with tear gas and assault rifles have revealed a disturbing pattern of police militarization, which both threatens the right to peaceful assembly and endangers our communities. The photographs and news headlines seen around the country are reminiscent of the deplorable oppression Civil Rights Movement leaders and activists faced in the South during the 1950s and ’60s. Additionally, the JACL NY/SC recognizes that the curfew placed on the Ferguson community recalls the Enemy Alien Curfew law of the 1940s. This curfew, along with unnecessary use of rubber bullets and tear gas, has led to more unprovoked violence.
The NY/SC is concerned with the manner in which St. Louis and Ferguson law enforcement city and state officials are handling the situation. The case has shown great structural faults within the American police system. Every week, there are countless acts of police violence and brutality across the entire United States, unprovoked attacks targeted toward young people of color and toward black men, in particular.
We denounce the culture of demonization that plagues our nation’s police departments and has pervaded in the community of Ferguson, both before and after the Brown shooting. The NY/SC supports the community of Ferguson and the family of Michael Brown in their fight for justice. We call for a fair investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in Michael Brown’s death and demand legislation that will hold police officers accountable for their actions and prevent similar tragedies from repeating.
The tragic shooting of Michael Brown serves as a harsh reminder that race and discrimination in the United States is far from resolved. The NY/SC posits that the daily recurrence of African American criminalization points to a much greater conflict in this country that subverts and dehumanizes all people of color, including Asian Americans.
Thus, it is imperative that we call upon the lessons of our past, push for better and equal communication within our communities and take steps in solidarity toward social justice.
Originally published on September 19, 2014