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In Missouri, on November 24, a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown. In Ferguson and cities across the country, the decision has provoked deep-seated anger and sparked protests in the streets over years of police brutality and abuse against African Americans. More than simply about the killing of Michael Brown, the rage and protests are born from the police violence, the racial discrimination, and the failure of the legal system to offer justice and relief that African Americans and communities of color have confronted for decades in the United States.
While we recognize the specific frustrations of the African American community in Ferguson, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown is part of a broader trend of police brutality and institutionalized racism that affects people of color across the country. Alongside African Americans, Latino communities face racial profiling, police violence and abuse, and disproportionately high rates of incarceration. Although President Obama’s recent executive order offered a measure of relief to a number of Latino immigrants, many members of our community still face forms of state-inflicted violence and mistreatment: raids by immigration agents, detentions, and deportations.
Our community’s struggle for social justice and human integrity transcends the boundaries of race. We are united with African Americans in the fight against police violence and mass incarceration. By demanding for protections against racial profiling, measures that ensure equal justice, and policies that promote economic opportunities, our campaigns for racial justice and human dignity have the potential to benefit all communities of color.
Civil disobedience and protests are the tools of the oppressed, especially when the traditional mechanisms of democracy fail, as the events in Ferguson remind us. We must continue to organize and engage in acts of civil disobedience and protests in order to achieve racial equality and justice.