Georgia WAND’s Statement on the Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision
On the heels of the Ferguson decision, Georgia WAND expresses our outrage over the targeting of and systemic violence against all people of color today and every day. The manifestations of imbalance of power in the US mirror too closely the struggles that people of color have faced since pilgrims first set foot on these shores.
The failure of a Ferguson, MO grand jury to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown is another painful exercise of embedded systemic racism, brought to light at the expense of Mr. Brown and his family.
Inside the federal building, jurors were influenced by their own prejudices, biases, and cultures of racism, white supremacy, and male superiority. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch inadequately and inappropriately steered the grand jury process, in our opinion. Also, the Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump, has publicly challenged the credibility of the St. Louis grand jury process. In the end, if pouring over evidence over and over again for months resulted in no evidence that a crime was committed, then we must redefine crime.
Outside in the streets proved more evidence of institutionalized racism: a local police force given the green light to trample protesters and get them to disperse through violent, harmful mechanisms; increased militarization of the police, outfitted with military-grade hardware; the Governor of Missouri calling in the National Guard, not to help the people but to square off against the people; people in power expecting-not peaceful protest that has defined this movement-but rather mass hysteria and out of control rioting. All this is due to the fact that the protesters are.... primarily Black.
Taken all together, the events in Ferguson illuminate that we are living in a warped culture that dehumanizes, brutalizes, criminalizes, and terrorizes people of color, a culture that is protected by militarism and force. In Ferguson and beyond, we must ensure that everyday people, especially young people, people of color, LGBQ people, women and transgender people, and immigrants are equipped with the necessary tools, confidence, knowledge, and support to challenge that system.
Here in Georgia, Georgia WAND is working to build political power in communities most affected by systemic injustices. We work in solidarity with people of color-led organizations. Together we are seeking justice and liberation.
The urgency of this struggle underscores the importance, especially on the heels of the 2014 midterm elections, of having an active electorate as part of a truly democratized political system. We must demand representation on all of its levels: local, state, federal, and beyond.
Together, across markers of difference, access, passion, immigrant status, and experience, we can change the militaristic culture of the US-the mentality that is reflected in police brutality and targeting on local level with arms supplied by the Department of Defense but also in our world view of maintaining an excessive nuclear arsenal; a drone fleet that is becoming self-actuating; funding from Pentagon for deputizing local police to detain immigrants; and much more...all standing at the ready to destroy people and their lives. Our militarism annihilates people - that's why we build up a nuclear arsenal, even when we're not at "war". But those sworn to protect us are at war with our own communities. Change is imminent, urgent, and decades overdue. Please join us in making it happen.
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