A Coalition of the NAACP, Nation of Islam, Black Lives Matter and coast-to-coast protesters convened in Ferguson 0ver the Labor Day weekend. AllHipHop found that the movement is at a proverbial fork in the road, that may lead the youth to just go straight ahead.
(AllHipHop News Feature) “Ya’ll think this is a game?! Ya’ll think this is a joke?!?!” - teen protesters cry out
Over the weekend, the protest marching resumed in Ferguson - right at the spot where 18-year-old, unarmed Mike Brown was slain by a Ferguson, MO police officer. The apartment complex of Canfield.
AllHipHop reps hit the ground to report on this continuing movement for justice.
Groups of caring, active people traversed the United States to convene in Ferguson. Folks from Los Angeles drove over 30 hours and commercial buses from New York City traveled 19 hours for the demonstration. Most of them were new to this particular protest, but came in like reinforcements to push the agenda forward. The Nation of Islam, The New Black Panther Party, NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Hands Up United (a local coalition of Black organizations in Missouri), Black churches and others all participated in the march to combat police brutality and bring about justice in the small town.
None of the supporters of Darren Wilson, the policeman that killed Mike Brown, were present on this day. For many, the August 8 killing is clearly an example of murder, but Wilson - still uncharged - has garnered nationwide support that is largely divided along racial lines. “These racist mother f***ers are giving [Darren Wilson] money and sh*t,” one protestor will yell directly at a gang of police, later in the day.
“Psychologically 'Hands Up/Don't Shoot' is messing with the police. They are realizing, they are shooting people that are unarmed and have their hands up.” - Angry Activist
Regardless of misappropriated fiscal donations, organizers maintain the need to police the police remains.
“The cops started slamming people on the ground and calling the people of this town animals and saying ‘I’ll shoot you, I’ll kill you.’ They started getting real ruthless.” one California-born protester said of the initial protest marching. The technique of “Hands Up/Don’t Shoot” worked, but an aura of intimidation still emanates from many police. The only issue is, these kids ain’t scared.
“Some people think ‘Hands Up’ is weak or powerless, but it is the opposite. Hands up has been f**king with the police, because they can’t do nothing. So the pigs talk a lot of s**t. One night the police surrounded them, but they couldn’t do anything,” one irate activist said under the condition of anonymity. “Psychologically its messing with the police. They are realizing, they are shooting people that are unarmed and have their hands up.”
One observer maintains that the officers have continued to push buttons in subtle, unforgettable ways. They allegedly ran over a stream of roses that were laid out in Mike Brown’s honor and allowed police dogs to urinate on the display as well. This act has not been verified by AllHipHop, but several people confirmed it happened.
“The police are just ready to pop off. Shooting us is like paintball them.” - Activist
These alleged acts of cruelty fuel these youth, referred to collectively as “Lost Voices.”
Lost or not, they are driving the march today, which has drawn over 500 people. And they are not fearful - even as they face a police army.
“The young people were like ‘They got tear gas, we got masks. We kept coming. And we ain’t going nowhere.’ These people have been pushed to the edge,” one New York-based activist said. “From the regular person to street organizations (widely referred to as gangs). They were the main ones like ‘We ain’t leaving.”
Rapper/activist Jasiri X concurred.
“One of the most inspiring things that came out of my trip to Ferguson was seeing the emerging young leaders on the ground doing incredible organizing,” the Pittsburgh MC said, “despite facing a military force every night for almost 3 straight weeks.”
The police continue to have a presence: “They are just ready to pop off. Shooting us is like paintball them.”
On Saturday, the officers of Ferguson were flush red, as protesters stood right at the police department, in their faces yelling. There is a wall of blue, but there are no acts of violence. Good thing looks can’t kill.
Towards the end of the formal march, differences in philosophy caused organizers and the youth to be at odds.
Harmonies of “Singing lift every voice and sing” began to fill the air as the march is lead to a local park with a stage. At that point, the speeches began, to the chagrin of some. Large clumps of people begin to depart.
“For you to take the energy here and take them into a stagnant place..that’s just disrespectful,” one observer said. Nevertheless, elders, children, women and men marched in the downpour never stopping even when soaking wet.
The younger, fired up protesters wanted the movement to keep moving into the wealthier areas, which are like gated communities with no gates.
“These muther f**kers got the fire of Tupac in them,” another person said. “They are going to work it out, with or without the old guard.”
Eventually, locals and out-of-town activists gathered to feast on tasty barbeque provided by the Hands Up Coalition. There was a sound truck, supplies for people to create large collages, free books for the children and large spray painted lists of both the local and national demands.
1. Swift and impartial investigation by the Department of Justice into the Michael Brown shooting
2. Immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson
3. County Prosecutor Robert McCullough to stand down and allow a Special Prosecutor to be appointed
4. Firing of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson
5. Immediate de-escalation of militarized policing of peaceful protestors
6. Ensure the protection of the rights of people to assemble and peacefully protest
7. Hold law enforcement officers accountable for excessive use of force on peaceful protests
8. Immediate release of individuals who have participated in their right to assemble and peacefully protest
1. Obama to come to Ferguson to meet with the people whose human rights have been violated by aggressive and militarized policing, including the family of the victim–Michael Brown
2. Eric Holder to use the full resources and power of the Department of Justice to implement a nationwide investigation of systemic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities
3. Ensure transparency, accountability, and safety of our communities by requiring front facing cameras in police departments with records of racial disparities in stops, arrests, killings, and excessive force complaints
4. Immediate suspension without pay of law enforcement officers that have used or approved excessive use of force. Additionally, their personal information and policing history should be made available to the public
In many ways, the continued saga leaves more questions than answers.
Who now leads this movement sparked by - but didn’t start with - the death of Mike Brown?
Who are the real leaders?
Can the old guard and the new leaders work together?
How will the culture of police be dealt with going forward?
How long will it last?
So many more questions. One thing is for certain the youth today - like those young people decades ago - will be present and need to be a driving force.