By Muki Majaer | @MukiNajaer
On August 9 Ferguson, Missouri police officer Daren Wilson shot and killed Michael (Mike) Brown, an unarmed 18 year old. Wilson shot the teenager six times, although Mike’s hands were in the air. The young man’s body was left to bleed out in the street for four hours, before being transported to the mortuary In the days following this tragedy the outraged community in Ferguson began organizing against police violence, calling for Darren Wilson’s indictment, the removal of Attorney Robert McCulloch from the case, and a civilian police review board, amongst many other demands.
In the United States, cold-blooded murders of young Black men and womyn by police officers are sadly a common occurrence. Three days before Mike Brown’s murder, John Crawford III, a young Black man, was killed by police while shopping at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. Two days after Mike Brown’s murder, Ezell Ford, an unarmed Black man laying on the ground, was shot repeatedly and killed by a police officer in Los Angeles. In recent years, one Black person is murdered in extrajudicial shootings every 28 hours. That averages to an outrageous 313 murders per year.
The organizers in Ferguson put a out a national call of action, urging people to come to Ferguson and show solidarity with the local resistance, during what they called Ferguson October. The Decolonize Media Collective (DMC), a student of color activist group dedicated to promoting justice through the creation of alternative media of under represented voices, organized a trip to Ferguson over Fall Break. During their time there, DMC actively participated in protests and direct actions. The group also shot and recorded interviews with local youth, artists, educators and community organizers including the Ferguson based Lost Voices and Organizing for Black Struggle.
Ferguson October drew thousands of people from around the country and world. Daily marches, protests, educational events, panels, and vigils were held to organize for justice and grieve for Mike Brown and Vonderrit Myers Jr., who was killed by an off-duty police officer in Shaw, Missouri, located 15 minutes outside of Ferguson, a few days before the Ferguson October weekend of resistance. On October 13th, dubbed day of resistance, seventy-six people were arrested for protests staged throughout St. Louis. These included six Walmart demonstrations, a civil disobedience action by clergy outside the Ferguson Police Station, and a direct action interrupting the Rams game, in which DMC members participated. The message of the protests is that people will not forgot the murder of Mike Brown, or the more recent murder of Vonderrit Myers Jr. They will not stop fighting until justice is served.