After prosecutor Bob McCullough announced that a grand jury decided against indicting Darren Wilson for murdering unarmed black teenager Michael Brown Jr., immediately thereafter, widespread violence and looting began in Ferguson Missouri. Several businesses, police cars, and other commercial buildings in the area were burned. This is sad and disheartening.
I ask the people of Ferguson in particular, and African-Americans in general, have we not learned from the Watts Riots, the L.A. Riots, and the nationwide riots following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Put simply, rioting gets nothing done? We have repeatedly seen that destroying our own neighborhoods only hurts us. When the fires are put out and the dust settles little change results.
Though the anger and disappointment felt by the Ferguson community is not only justified, but also understood by the majority of Americans, the decision, made by a vocal minority, to burn buildings, loot stores, and destroy local businesses is disturbing as the vandalizing of local homes and businesses, the backbones of our community, irrationally cripples the Black collective. How in God’s name is breaking into a shoe store and stealing 50 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers honoring the life of Michael Brown? Simply put, it does not!
So I beg the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding areas, if you must protest the grand jury’s decision, please do so peacefully. There are constructive ways to come about making a change. And to be quite honest rioting, looting, disorder and anarchy is a distance from being constructive. Instead of responding in an emotional fashion, we as a black community need to move toward developing mechanism to preclude this issue from occurring again.
Instead of just screaming to the high heavens about problems, lets become solution oriented and work towards eliminating and neutralizing the issues that disproportionately affect the African-American community. Let’s all join the family of Michael Brown Jr. family and petition tour local lawmakers and legislatures to make it mandatory that all police officers were body cameras. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a notable tangible difference. Such action is the only way of both honoring Michael Brown and preventing this tragedy, including the decision to not indict a rogue police officer, from ever occurring again.